Born Dolores Mary Eileen O’ Riordan on 6th September 1971 and she couldn’t have been more Irish with a name like that. From Ballybricken in Limerick she was the youngest of seven. I’m sure none of them knew the measure of success that she was going to have. She rose to the top never forgetting where she came from.
The music always had an Irish lilt. Her accent came through every now and again. She wrote about Ireland many times and sadly due to the times that were in it the songs weren’t always glowing reports of our beautiful homestead.
Married for 20 years to Duran Duran’s tour manager Don Burton they divorced in 2014 and have 3 children. She had a solo career releasing 2 albums but she will always be known as the lead singer of The Cranberries. Joining them in 1990 by rewriting lyrics to the bands music as part of her audition. History was made.
The first album was called Everybody else is doing it so why can’t we? and was released in March 1993. A great album title that got the message through that anyone can have a go. Before I list off my favourite songs I found a few interesting pieces of information while I was remembering how much I loved the band.
There was a certain amount of continuity running through the imagery of the album covers. I love when artists play close attention to every little detail. Very cool when you see them lined up like that.
Dolores used yodeling in her songs after learning from her father. She is credited with bringing it into main stream where other artists copied her distinct style.
They were the biggest Irish export in the music industry since U2.
Not afraid to bring politics social issues and religion into her music. Zombie was about an IRA bombing, Salvation was about drug abuse. Free to Decide… she takes a pop at the paparazzi the lyrics read.
You must have nothing more
With your time to do
There’s a war in Russia and Sarajevo too
So to hell with all your thinking
Cordell was about the passing away of the man that signed them to Island Records and had more than a hand in their success.
Dolores said in an interview that she can remember writing every song. She knows exactly what each one is about and what she felt on the night she wrote them. I believe her and although it was hard to wittle them down here are my favs.
Dreams this haunting song has Dolores singing all the harmonies. I love the layers on this track. Their debut single and still one of my top tunes. It has a very Irish sound to it.
Linger a song about her first serious kiss with a soldier I love the string intro. This was written by Dolores herself.
Ode To My Family In an interview Dolores said this song was about losing what she referred to as a simpler life when she found fame. She always talked about things through her music.
ZombieThe most iconic Cranberries song. Their best selling single and just out on it’s own in terms of creativity and originality. It was written about an IRA bombing in Warrington in England where 2 young boys lost their lives. Samuel Bayer directed the video and he filmed on the streets in Belfast. He is also the director of Nirvana’s Smells like Teen spirit. So fantastic pedigree there.
When you’re goneThis is an apt song to finish on. Not only a talented songwriter she was a musican too playing electric and acoustic guitar, keyboard, whistle and mandolin. however I think we can all agree that her best instrument was her voice.