The world has lost yet another beloved star, but her light will keep shining among her family, friends and fans. The death of The Cranberries’ lead singer Dolores O’Riordan was announced on Monday the 15th of January 2018 and has left a dark cloud of devastation hanging over us all. At this time, the cause of her death is unknown and those closest to her have asked for people to respect their privacy and let them mourn in peace. A request that should be abided by all, but we can share in our grief through the beautiful music Dolores has left behind.
Dolores began her music career when she joined The Cranberries in 1990, an Irish rock band formed in Limerick a year prior. The band was initially formed by brothers Mike and Noel Hogan along with Fergal Lawler and Niall Quinn under the name The Cranberry Saw Us. However, the line up was simply not meant to be when Quinn left the band after only a year together. The remaining members began their search for a female singer to front their band and found all they were looking for in Dolores O’Riordan. Dolores came prepared to dazzle, writing her own lyrics and melodies but it was the early stages of the famous ‘Linger’ that got her the job. ‘Linger’ is a perfect summary of the band’s style and approach to music, as well as Dolores’s talent and uniqueness. Her sweet and soft voice still manages to project powerful emotions and capture the heart of anyone listening.
The band’s early EPs and demos caught the attention of many people in influential positions, putting them on the track for success from near day dot. In 1993, they released their debut single, ‘Dreams’, an upbeat song about new love laced with youthful innocence. The song entered the top 30 of the UK chart in 1994 and was one of the songs, alongside ‘Linger’, that featured on The Cranberries debut album, Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?. Although mainstream success was achieved early on, both ‘Dreams’ and ‘Linger’ were re-released at later dates to prove even more popular and quickly sending The Cranberries soaring through the charts.
One year after the release of their first album, the band came back with No Need To Argue, an album that completely outsold it’s earlier counterpart. The album contained the iconic song ‘Zombie’ and went triple platinum within a year of it’s circulation at the top of the charts. Apart from ‘Linger’, ‘Zombie’ is arguably the band’s most popular song to date and is a heavy showcase of their placement in the rock genre. Dolores’s vocal performance is as phenomenal as previous recordings but this time laced with an anger made poetic by her angelic tones. The song contains a powerful message concerning the political conflict surrounding Ireland at the time, filled with turmoil and harrowing lyrics.
No Need To Argue has proven to be the band’s most successful album as popularity barely ceased. Later albums, such as To The Faithful Departed, did not reach the same peak of success but kept the band’s place in the heart of their fans. The Cranberries continued to make music together throughout the years, producing numerous music videos and embarking on one of the most successful tours of their career. Rumours circulated about Dolores leaving the band to follow a solo career and in 2004 the band entered a hiatus. In 2007, Dolores released her first solo album, Are You Listening?, and sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. 2009 saw the reunion of the band – although it was not described as such at the time – where they went on a tour of both North America and Europe. The band played their old songs as well as Dolores’s solo music before then going on to release a brand-new album in 2011. In 2017, an acoustic album titled Something Else was released alongside the promise of tour dates. Unfortunately, the tour dates had to be cancelled due to issues arising with Dolores’s health.
The tragic news of Dolores O’Riordan’s death has left many people in a state of shock and mourning for the young artist. Her fellow band members have paid tribute to the singer via social media and it is obvious she was an admired and well-loved woman who will be missed by both those she touched with her music and in her personal life.
By Skye W. Winwood