World Party began as an outlet for the pop infatuations of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Karl Wallinger, previously best known for his tenure with the Waterboys. Born October 19, 1957, in Prestatyn, Wales, Wallinger grew up enamored not only of the Beatles but also of the Motown and Merseybeat sounds, and made his professional debut in 1976 as a member of the group Quasimodo. (Years later, after Wallinger had exited to move to London to work as a clerk for ATV/Northern Songs, Quasimodo evolved into the Alarm.) Following a tenure as the musical director of a West End performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Wallinger joined a funk band dubbed the Out before signing on with Mike Scott's Waterboys in 1984 to record the LP A Pagan Place. After 1985's superb This Is the Sea, Wallinger amicably departed to form World Party, a one-man project heavily indebted to Revolver-era Beatlesque pop; recorded in Wallinger's home studio, the 1987 debut Private Revolution scored a Top 40 hit with the infectious lead single "Ship of Fools."
After a long layoff (during which time Wallinger aided Sinéad O'Connor in recording her 1988 debut, The Lion and the Cobra), World Party returned in 1990 with Goodbye Jumbo, another successful collection offering the minor hits "Way Down Now" and "Put the Message in the Box." After the 1991 stopgap EP Thank You World (including a cover of the Beatles' "Happiness Is a Warm Gun"), Wallinger recruited guitarist Dave Caitlin-Birch and drummer Chris Sharrock as full-fledged members for 1993's Bang!, which reached the number two position on the British album charts. After 1997's Egyptology, Wallinger took a three-year break from World Party, returning in 2000 with Dumbing Up. He suffered an aneurysm shortly after the record's release, resulting in a long and painful recovery period that found the artist unable to speak for a time. After regaining his motor skills, Wallinger returned to the studio and began work on a new record. The career-spanning compilation Best in Show arrived in 2007. ~ Jason Ankeny