Top 10 World Party Songs

World Party Songs

Our Top 10 World Party songs list presents ten of the best songs released by a UK band known for its blend of alternative rock and pop influences. The band served as the musical outlet of singer/multi-instrumentalist Karl Wallinger after his short stint in Mike Scott’s band The Waterboys. World Party was a one-man project for the better part of its existence. Karl would however add bassist/guitarist David Catlin-Birch and percussionist Chris Sharrock in the World Party’s lineup in 1992.

David Catlin-Birch (who served in The Beatles tribute group, The Bootleg Beatles) went ahead to leave World Party in 1995. On the other hand, Chris Sharrock (who played with The Icicle Works, Beady Eye, and The La’s) left World Party in 1997. Before being enlisted as members of World Party, David and Chris served as session musicians on the band’s sophomore studio album Goodbye Jumbo.

Over the years, World Party released a total of five full-length studio albums. All of the albums issued by the band made it to the UK Albums Chart. World Party’s albums were also critically acclaimed in the US with four of them gracing the Billboard 200 Chart. The band barely made any noticeable releases after 2000 only remaining active through tours for the next one and half decade.

A Review of World Party’s Albums

In March 1987, World Party issued its debut studio album, Private Revolution. The album was released through Chrysalis Records, a label (once) home to Belinda Carlisle, Jethro Tull, Billy Idol, and Joan Jett among others. Karl not only served as the only member of the band on the album Private Revolution but also its producer. However, the album features the contribution of other artists who were brought in as session musicians.

Some of the artists who served as session musicians on the album include violinist Steve Wickham, Sinead O’Connor, and saxophonist Anthony Thistlethwaite. Karl had played with Anthony Thistlethwaite on The Waterboys—Anthony would also leave the band to join the Irish rock band The Saw Doctors.

Private Revolution was critically acclaimed in the UK where it rose to the fifty-sixth spot on the Albums Chart. The album was warmly received in Australia where it peaked at the thirteenth spot on the Albums Chart. Private Revolution made it big in the US rising to the thirty-ninth spot on the Billboard 200. “Ship of Fools,” “Private Revolution,” “All Come True,” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s 1964 hit “All I Really Want to Do” are the best World Party songs from the album.

World Party returned in 1990 with its sophomore studio album Goodbye Jumbo. The Karl Wallinger-produced album was issued through Ensign Records. Other artists who issued records through Ensign Records include The Blue Aeroplanes, Sinead O’Connor, and The Waterboys. New reputable session musicians on the album Goodbye Jumbo include Jeff Trott (known for his songwriting contribution to Sheryl Crow’s career), drummer Chris Whitten (played with Paul McCartney and Dire Straits), and Guy Chambers (known for his work with former Take That member Robbie Williams).

Goodbye Jumbo was critically acclaimed in the UK where the album made it to the thirty-sixth spot on the Albums Chart. The album made it to the twenty-sixth spot on the Canadian Albums Chart. In the US, the album was fairly successful rising to a peak position of number seventy-three on the Billboard 200. Some of the most popular World Party songs from the album include “Way Down Now,” “Thank You World,” “When the Rainbow Comes,” and “Put the Message in the Box.”

In 1993, World Party went ahead to issue its third studio album Bang! During this time, World Party was a three-piece act following the addition of drummer Chris Sharrock and guitarist Dave Catlin-Birch. Bang! was issued through Ensign Records under the production of Karl Wallinger in conjunction with the British Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Lillywhite. Lillywhite is best known for his fruitful work with multiple artists including U2, The La’s, The Psychedelic Furs, and Dave Matthews Band among others.

Bang! is the highest-charting album by World Party on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at the second spot. The album was also fairly successful on the Billboard 200 rising to position one hundred and twenty-six. Bang! also graced the ARIA Albums Chart peaking at the fortieth spot. Some of the best World Party songs from the album include All I Gave,” “Give It All Away,” and “Is It Like Today?”

In 1997, World Party issued its fourth studio album Egyptology. The album was Chris Sharrock’s final release as a member of the band World Party. Notable guest musicians featured in the album Egyptology include saxophonist Anthony Thistlethwaite (The Waterboys and The Saw Doctors) and John Turnbull of The Blockheads.

Egyptology marked the band’s final charting album on the Billboard 200 where it peaked at number one hundred and sixty-seven. The album Egyptology also graced the UK Albums Chart rising to position thirty-four. “She’s the One,” “Beautiful Dream,” “It is Time,” and “Call Me Up” are the most sought-after songs from Egyptology.

Dumbing Up, issued in 2000, marked World Party’s fifth studio album. The album also marked the band’s final studio album. Dumbing Up made it to the sixty-fourth spot on the UK Albums Chart. Some of the best World Party songs from Dumbing Up include “Here Comes the Future,” “Always on My Mind,” and “What Does It Mean Now?”

World Party’s Influences

During his tenure at The Waterboys, Karl Wallinger barely explored his true musical passion only restricted to a blend of Celtic-tinged folk-rock sounds and alternative rock. However, the singer/multi-instrumentalist went ahead to pursue his pop/alternative rock fascinations with his band World Party. Among the major influences on World Party’s sound profile were The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Beach Boys. Below is the compilation of our all-time best World Party songs.

#10- Here Comes the Future

Last but not least on our top 10 World Party songs list is the hit “Here Comes the Future.” The song is featured on the band’s fifth and final album Dumbing Up. Among the artists who contributed to the lyrics of the song “Here Comes the Future” was Johnson Somerset. Somerset has also worked with other multiple artists including Duran Duran, Bryan Ferry, Sugababes, and Simple Minds. “Here Comes the Future” is among the last World Party songs to make it to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at position eighty-nine.

#9- All the Young Dudes

While World Party performed a number of cover hits, none of them had quite the impact “All the Young Dudes” managed to make. Initially, the song was released by the English rock band Mott the Hoople. However, the lyrics to the hit “All the Young Dudes” were penned by David Bowie who was a fan of Mott the Hoople. David Bowie would also record his version of this hit having it issued on the compilation album Rarestonebowie.

World Party’s cover of this hit went ahead to be featured on the soundtrack album of the 1995 comedy film Clueless. Other artists who contributed to the soundtrack include Coolio, Radiohead, Luscious Jackson, Counting Crows, and The Beastie Boys among others. The soundtrack went ahead to be platinum certified in the US.

#8- Give It All Away

Ranking eight on our top 10 World Party songs list is the energetic hit “Give It All Away.” The song is featured on World Party’s third studio album Bang! “Give It All Away” is a spellbinding track that showcases the musicianship of the then World Party trio which included Karl Wallinger, drummer Chris Sharrock, and guitarist Dave Catlin-Birch. This timeless masterpiece starts with catchy guitar riffs followed up by the soulful vocal delivery of singer Karl Wallinger. “Give It All Away” peaked at position forty-three on the UK Singles Chart.

#7- Beautiful Dream

“Beautiful Dream” is one of the most sought-after songs by World Party. The song is featured on World Party’s fourth studio album Egyptology. “Beautiful Dream” showcases Karl Wallinger’s excellence at crafting melodic songs with uplifting lyrical content. His soothing vocal delivery complements the song’s poetic lyrics that evoke imaginations of a better world. This pensive hit was a mainstream success on the UK Singles Chart where it peaked at position thirty-one.

#6- Private Revolution

Coming in at number six on our top 10 World Party songs list is the brilliant hit “Private Revolution.” The song serves as the album-opening track to the band’s debut studio album of the same name. “Private Revolution” is among the most definitive songs of World Party’s musical direction in the late ‘80s. The song features the contribution of Sinead O’Connor on the backing vocals. Despite not making it big in the mainstream, “Private Revolution” remains one of the fan-favorite picks by World Party fans.

#5- She’s the One

Egyptology, the band’s fourth studio was a commercial flop and last mainstream successful release by World Party on the Billboard 200. Nevertheless, the album is home to “She’s the One,” one of the most successful songs ever released by World Party. The song was released as a promotional single towards the release of Egyptology. However, the original version of the song “She’s the One” was barely successful.

The song earned more critical acclaim after it was covered by the ex-Take That member Robbie Williams. Robbie’s version was featured on his sophomore studio album I’ve Been Expecting You. Other artists who have covered the hit “She’s the One” include Andy Williams, Todd Gordon, and Susan Wong. “She’s the One” has earned recognition as one of the most definitive tracks in the contemporary music scene. The song was included in the soundtrack of the 1997 romantic comedy film The Matchmaker.

#4- Put the Message in the Box

“Put the Message in the Box” serves as our introduction to World Party’s musicianship on the album Goodbye Jumbo. The song is among the first World Party to have featured the contribution of Chris Sharrock (former member of The La’s, The Icicle Works, and The Wild Swans) on the drums. “Put the Message in the Box” was a mainstream success rising to the eighth position on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart. The song also climbed to the thirty-ninth position on the UK Singles Chart.

#3- Way Down Now

Ranking third on our top 10 World Party songs list is the amazing striking hit “Way Down Now.” The song is yet another pick from the band’s sophomore studio album Goodbye Jumbo. “Way Down Now” finds World Party bringing the true musical vibes of the ‘80s alternative rock influences. Its infectious chorus is probably the most memorable element of this song for most World Party fans.

“Way Down Now” contains samples of the 1968 hit “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones. The song is among World Party’s most successful releases in the US mainstream rising atop the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart. The song also climbed to the sixty-sixth spot on the UK Singles Chart.

#2- Is It Like Today?

“Is It Like Today?” remains to be one of the most sought-after songs from World Party’s catalog. The song is our best pick off World Party’s third studio album Bang! “Is It Like Today?” features some melancholic chords that complement its poignant lyrical content. Karl’s dreamlike and emotive vocal delivery adds to this song’s emotional intensity. “Is It Like Today?” made it to the fifth spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart. The song remains World Party’s highest-charting hit on the UK Singles Chart where it peaked at the nineteenth spot.

#1- Ship of Fools

Sitting at the peak on our top 10 World Party songs list is the alluring hit “Ship of Fools.” The song is World Party’s signature track from the album Private Revolution. “Ship of Fools” finds Karl Wallinger warning the world of the widespread greed of the era promising that the payback to these actions with be soon coming.

However, don’t confuse this song with the 1970 version of The Doors which is quite different. “Ship of Fools” is the highest-charting song by World Party on the Billboard Hot 100 rising to the twenty-seventh spot. The song also made it to number forty-two on the UK Singles Chart. “Ship of Fools” was covered by Something for Kate and Ten Sharp.

Feature Photo: Bob Mateljan, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 World Party Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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