Song of the Week – Way Down Now, World Party


Today’s SotW was written by another guest contributor, Steve Martin (no, not that one!). Steve moved to SF from Staten Island, New York in 1979 (which pert near makes him a CA native) to attend San Francisco State University where he had a college radio show called the “Esoteric Dinosaur.” His favorite musical experience is the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. His musical interests cut across many different genres but tend more recently toward “Americana.” When he’s not listening to music he is working at the Oakland Coliseum where he has been a Facility Manager for the last 26 years.

World Party is a “band” started by Karl Wallinger in 1986 after 2 years as a member of The Waterboys. World Party is essentially a Wallinger solo project. He plays most of the instruments himself in the studio and tours with a variety of different musicians.

They had a string of FM radio friendly hits in the late 80’s and 90’s that showed Wallinger’s influences including The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Prince. (They recorded a version of John Lennon’s “Happiness is a Warm Gun.”) He wrote and recorded the original version of “She’s the One” that later became a hit for Robbie Williams.

Goodbye Jumbo was World Party’s second album (1990) and featured many of Wallinger’s signature catchy hooks, including “Way Down Now” that reached #1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart.

The sardonic lyrics are sung with a voice mildly imitative of Bob Dylan. The music drives a solid beat all the way through and culminates just past the 3:00 mark with “whoo-whoos” that are a direct link to the Stones “Sympathy for the Devil.”

In 2001 Wallinger suffered a brain aneurysm but he was able to return to musician’s work again after 5 years of rehabilitation. He is currently writing and recording at his studio in England.

Enjoy… until next week.

2 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Way Down Now, World Party

  1. Karl Wallinger is an underrated artist. He co-wrote Whole of the Moon and entered into some squabbles with Mike Scott w, which led to his exit from The Waterboys. He had a song on his Egyptology album called “She’s the One” which was going to be used for the Ed Burns film of the same name. His band member Guy Chambers used that song without telling Wallinger and gave it to Robbie Williams who then had a global hit with it. The money came in handy after Wallinger’s stroke. He had to literally learn how to play all his songs again. I’ve been lucky enough to see him many times, most recently during his stint at City Winery a few years back and he is back in form. Check out his B-sides and unreleased stuff in a set called Arkeology.

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