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Karl Wallinger, Who Sang With World Occasion and the Waterboys, Dies at 66

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Karl Wallinger, a Welsh singer-songwriter who helped outline school radio within the Eighties and ’90s as a member of the Waterboys and the founding father of World Occasion, died on Sunday at his house in Hastings, England. He was 66.

His daughter, Nancy Zamit, confirmed the demise however didn’t present a trigger. Mr. Wallinger suffered a mind aneurysm in 2001 that compelled him to cease performing for a number of years.

Following on the heels of the post-punk, new wave and new romantic actions of the early Eighties, Mr. Wallinger embodied one thing of a throwback to the classical pop and folks types of an earlier period, with music and lyrics influenced by the Beatles and Bob Dylan.

Although he rejected the label “retro,” onstage he regarded like a trendy hippie, with lengthy stringy hair and tinted spherical glasses that may have slot in at Woodstock.

Mr. Wallinger was broadly admired for his instrumental abilities. He primarily performed keyboards for the Waterboys, an influential folk-rock band based by the Scottish musician Mike Scott, however on his personal he often performed a guitar — which, although he was right-handed, he performed the other way up, together with his left hand.

After two albums with the Waterboys, Mr. Wallinger left in 1985 to type World Occasion, which was at first a one-man act: He wrote all of the music and recorded all of the components within the studio. Solely when he started to tour did he add members and make it a real band.

His lyrics may very well be acerbic. However his best-known work, like “Put the Message within the Field,” from the 1990 World Occasion album, “Goodbye Jumbo,” reveled in a spacey, idealistic view of the world:

And should you hear now

You would possibly hear a brand new sound coming in

As an outdated one disappears

See the world in only one grain of sand

A lot of his songs carried an environmental message, although in interviews Mr. Wallinger insisted that his work was not political or message pushed.

“I’ve at all times thought it ought to be one thing to do with therapeutic or discovering issues out in regards to the world which have reality,” he mentioned in a 2022 interview with the journal The Massive Takeover. “I’m not left or proper wing; I don’t even consider when it comes to that. I simply need folks to have what they should get by way of residing on the planet.”

Karl Edmund De Vere Wallinger was born on Oct. 19, 1957, in Prestatyn, a city in northern Wales about 40 miles west of Liverpool, England. His father, Julian, was an architect, and his mom, Phyllis (Owens) Wallinger, held varied jobs.

He attended Charterhouse, a prestigious non-public college in England that additionally produced Peter Gabriel and lots of the different early members of Genesis. (Mr. Wallinger missed Mr. Gabriel by a couple of years.)

Intent on changing into a musician, he moved to London after commencement and labored for a music publishing firm, processing royalty checks. He spent his lunch hours fingering a piano within the firm places of work till sooner or later a producer heard him, gave him an audition and signed him to a contract.

In his off hours, Mr. Wallinger performed with a string of small, short-lived bands, and labored for a couple of years because the musical director for “The Rocky Horror Present” in London.

On the invitation of Mr. Scott, he left theater to hitch the Waterboys for his or her second album, “A Pagan Place” (1994). He additionally performed on the group’s third launch, “This Is the Sea,” earlier than leaving the group to start out a solo profession.

The primary World Occasion album, “Personal Revolution” (1986), included his first hit, “Ship of Fools,” which reached No. 27 on the Billboard Prime 40 and No. 42 in Britain. Sinead O’Connor contributed vocals on two tracks, and in return Mr. Wallinger contributed to her personal debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” launched the following 12 months.

A number of well-reviewed albums adopted, together with “Goodbye Jumbo” (1990), “Bang!” (1993) and “Egyptology” (1997). World Occasion toured internationally, together with because the opening act for 10,000 Maniacs.

Mr. Wallinger additionally labored in movie. He was the musical director for the rating of the 1994 film “Actuality Bites” and contributed songs to the soundtracks of “Clueless” (1995), “The Matchmaker” (1997) and “Armageddon” (1998).

However because the Nineties progressed, he and World Occasion discovered themselves sidelined by the darker, screechier sounds of grunge in the USA and the power-pop sound of British bands like Oasis and Blur.

Then his supervisor died and his label went bankrupt. His mind aneurysm left him with out his proper peripheral imaginative and prescient.

Mr. Wallinger did have one stroke of fine fortune, nevertheless. Within the mid-Nineties, he spent 10 minutes writing a track referred to as “She’s the One,” which he recorded for “Egyptology.” Two years later, with out his approval, Robbie Williams rerecorded it, and his model reached No. 1 on the British pop charts, producing a windfall of royalties for Mr. Wallinger.

“So we didn’t need to promote the youngsters to chemical experiments or something,” he informed The Chicago Solar-Instances in 2012. “I feel I’m a little bit of a fortunate individual.”

Alongside together with his daughter, he’s survived by his spouse, Suzie Zamit; their son, Louis Wallinger; his brother, Tim Wallinger; his sisters, Karen Wallinger and Allyson Wallinger; and two grandchildren.

Mr. Wallinger slowly returned to recording and performing after his aneurysm. In 2006, he undertook a much-delayed promotional tour for his 2000 album, “Dumbing Up.” He co-produced Peter Gabriel’s 2008 album “Massive Blue Ball,” on which Mr. Gabriel collaborated with varied artists; Mr. Wallinger additionally co-wrote and carried out on a number of tracks.

And in 2012 he launched “Arkeology,” a five-CD set of 70 tracks that features demos, stay recordings and various variations of a lot of Mr. Wallinger’s World Occasion songs.

As he famous in a number of interviews, his time away from music had overlapped with dramatic modifications within the business, particularly the shift towards digital manufacturing and distribution, which made his model of lush instrumentation and album-centric composition an anachronism.

However he additionally thought of himself older and wiser, and he appeared comfy with time transferring ahead.

“I simply received fortunate in plenty of methods, in plenty of methods,” he informed the Canadian newspaper The Calgary Herald in 2013. “I simply focused on issues and listened to issues, however I didn’t strategy writing with something aside from a contented stoned expression on my face, really. It’s a type of issues that occurs, fortunately. It’s a wierd factor.”



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