The Cranberries singer-songwriter was one of the most distinct voices of the 1990s, watch some of her most memorable performances
When news broke out that lead singer of The Cranberries, Dolores O’ Riordan had died yesterday at the age of 46, it was hard not to be hit by a wave of nostalgia. If you grew up in the 1990s, it was impossible to get the image of O’ Riordan out of your mind—painted in gold, in front of a larger than life cross— mouthing lyrics to Zombie, a protest anthem that would come to be one of the most iconic songs of her band The Cranberries.
O’ Riordan became one of the two female breakout stars from Ireland (the other being Sinead O’ Conner). Brash in her Dr Martens, stockings and shaved head, effortlessly cool—she arrived at her wedding to Don Burton (the former tour manager of Duran Duran), steering a horse drawn carriage, with her endless veil billowing behind her. The Irish Times photographer Brenda Fitzsimmons tweeted that it was “so ballsy that I nearly forgot to take pictures.”
As a singer, song writers, O’ Riordan was no different, the debut album of The Cranberries, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? had songs that O’Riordan reflected were, “a young woman’s painful failures as an adolescent and her subsequent rebirth as a young adult, and I know exactly what night I wrote it on and why I wrote it. And I’m kind of proud of them because they do elaborate very much how I felt at the time.” These were songs such as Dream and Linger, which would go on to become break out hits later.
Zombie didn’t come into fruition until their second album No Need to Argue and it was this political anthem that put The Cranberries firmly on their road to their success. Their third album, To The Faithful Departed, yielded hits such as Salvation and When You’re Gone. After releasing Wake Up and Smell The Roses, The Cranberries went on a hiatus. Over the course of their career, they sold over 40 million albums worldwide.
O’Riordan launched her solo career later with the album Are You Listening. She also formed a band in 2016 with Andy Rourke from The Smiths. Along the way, O’Riordan reunited with The Cranberries re-united and released Roses and Something Else.
In 2017, The Cranberries had to cancel their tour in support of their new album because of O’Riordan health issues. Nevertheless, no one expected the singer-songwriter to go this early, at the time of her death; O’Riordan was in London for a recording.