The Cranberries and Dolores O’Riordan biography [1989-2019] A unique voice, a very hard life
3 Songs to know The Cranberries
🏆 GREATEST HIT
💛 TREMBOL FAVE
All Over Now
The Cranberries and Dolores O’Riordan Trembol Card
- 🗿 Name: The Cranberries. Their singer and leading exponent was Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan.
- 🎂 Year: Dolores was born on 6 September 1971 in Ballybricken (County Limerick, Ireland). She joined The Cranberries in 1990, 6 months after the band was formed. They disbanded in 2019, following Dolores’ death in January 2018.
- 👫 Genres: Mainly Pop-Rock, with variants to Alternative Rock or Indie Rock.
- ♈ Logo:
- 💿 Discography: The Cranberries released 8 studio albums, plus several live and compilation albums. Dolores O’Riordan released 2 solo albums.
- 👬 Members: Dolores O’Riordan (vocal), Noel Hogan (guitar), Mike Hogan (bass), Fergal Lowler (drums).
- 🔗 Webpage: cranberries.com
- 🗣 Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
I truly don’t really care what people think about what I’m going to say.
If I feel strongly enough about it, I write about it, and whatever way the chips may fall, so be it. If I get slated for it, so be it.
The Cranberries and Dolores O’Riordan | Biography & Music
Linger, Dreams, Zombie and many other legendary songs, sung in her yodeling voice made of ups and downs, turned The Cranberries into biggest Irish band in history (after U2), with 8 magnificent albums.
Despite becoming a huge pop star, bipolar disorder and alcohol problems ended Dolores’ life on 15 January 2018, at the age of 46, and with that, The Cranberries ended an undeniable career.
Chapter 1 | A childhood scarred by abuse
- Her mother chose the name “Dolores (Sorrows)” because she was very Catholic, referring to the 7 sorrows of the Virgin Mary.
- His father, Terence, was a farmer, so they lived in an agricultural area. It was a small house with two rooms.
- His mother, Eileen, provided food for local schools and worked in a bar.
The father had a motorbike accident before Dolores was born, causing a brain injury and leaving him in a wheelchair. Unable to work, Dolores’s siblings took care of the fields.
- When Dolores was 7 years old, her older sister accidentally started a fire, burning her house to the ground.
- With the help of neighbours, they built a new one 🏚️
Worse still, at the age of 8, and for almost 4 years, Dolores was sexually abused by one of the villagers.
- She didn’t tell anyone because she thought it was her fault.
- This horror caused her serious psychological problems which, throughout her life, would lead to depression, anorexia, alcohol and even bipolar disorder 😞
- In 1999 Dolores wrote a song called Fee Fi Fo about it.
At school Dolores was nicknamed ‘The girl who writes songs‘. She was considered strange by her classmates and had few friends.
- As a teenager she joined the church choir she attended.
- But as the years went by, fate led her to the Cranberries…
Chapter 2 | The beginnings of The Cranberries
They then decided to form a band called ‘The Cranberry Saw Us‘.
- After 6 months, the singer, Niall, left the band, but not before introducing them to a friend of his girlfriend, to replace him, guess who it was? Dolores O’Riordan
At the audition, Dolores, who was a country girl among city boys, didn’t say a word until she started singing. The members of The Cranberries counted:
We were immediately blown away. Her voice was something special.
Dolores wrote all the songs with the guitarist, Noel.
- They used to do it in separate rooms. Noel would record the guitar parts on tape and give them to Dolores to develop the verses and choruses on her own.
- During the first two years of The Cranberries they wrote dozens of songs.
- They played 6 original songs in front of an audience of 60 people.
- Even then, Dolores O’Riordan had a very personal, Tyrolean way of singing, being able to go from the most intimate whisper to an overwhelming scream in a second, leaving everyone in awe 🤯!
As a result, they were signed by a small record company in their hometown called Xeric Records.
- Soon, and still as The Cranberry Saw Us, they recorded their first EP, ‘Nothing Left at All‘.
- It included only 3 songs and 300 copies were released on cassette which sold out in a few days.
At this point, Xeric Studios owner Pearse Gilmore became their manager, paid for a more professional demo, which featured early versions of “Linger” and “Dreams“, and helped them distribute it to London labels.
- In 1991, after a performance at the University of Limerick, which was also attended by 32 record labels, they signed to Island Records. Their new life was beginning…
The Cranberries Uncertain
- The album blends late 80s British pop rock with folk and traditional Irish sounds.
- The lyrics were simple and even naïve, but they connected incredibly with the audience, like the first single ‘Dreams‘, whose story is beautiful.
- The biggest hit was ‘Linger‘, which is about the first kiss 💋
The Cranberries Linger
The US tour that brought them to fame
The Cranberries were invited to open for Suede and The Matt Johnson’s American tour. The tour was to be cancelled due to poor attendance, but unbeknownst to them, The Cranberries’ album was becoming more and more successful, as MTV played their videos for ‘Linger’ and ‘Dreams’ a lot.
The album would go on to sell over 8 million copies and The Cranberries would tour the US throughout 1993 🍔
- They played a concert that their fans still remember at the London Astoria 2, which was filmed and released as The Cranberries Live.
- They released their 2nd album entitled ‘No Need to Argue’. It became an instant hit selling 17 million copies 📀
It was the first album where they started to mix guitar and synthesizer.
- The album was considered their masterpiece and the one with which most of the public recognised them.
- The truth is that it was a much more mature work, with a theme centred on childhood.
- The album is full of emblematic tracks such as: Ode to My Family, Ridiculous Thoughts, I Can’t Be with You, Dreaming My Dreams, Daffodil Lament, Everything I Said, and Empty.
The Cranberries Ode To My Family
It was the second single from No Need To Argue. Dolores wrote it as a tribute to the victims of the Yugoslav war that was then raging in the Balkans 💣
What does Zombie by The Cranberries mean?
Zombie was the first single from the album. Written by Dolores O’Riordan, at a time of absolute rage at the IRA bombings (a paramilitary group calling for the reunification of Ireland and independence from the UK) that killed 2 children.
Dolores explained the meaning of Zombie:
This song is our cry against man’s inhumanity to man, inhumanity to child. And war, babies dying, and Belfast, and Bosnia, and Rwanda. It was a turning point for us.
It’s an angry song, and it needs to reflect that.
As well as having an immense cultural impact, it was transformative for the band musically. After Zombie, The Cranberries became a much more rocking band and Dolores O’Riordan became a global star, which would have consequences for her…
- They played a mini-concert at Woodstock that is still remembered today.
- Dolores O’Riordan radically changed her look. She cut her hair short, dyed it blonde and started wearing leather. Her performance on the Late Show with David Letterman was a huge hit.
- The group embarked on their first world tour, which lasted almost a year 🌍
The Cranberries Zombie (live)
Dolores O’Riordan marries and starts a family
During the tour, Dolores met Don Burton, the producer of the British band Duran Duran. After only a few weeks together they decided to get married 👰
It was said that the wedding was attended by more journalists than guests.
Dolores and Don would go on to have 3 children: Taylor Baxter in 1997, Molly Leigh in 2001 and Dakota Rain in 2005.
The Cranberries Salvation
- The Cranberries had become the most important Irish band since U2.
In 1996 they released their 3rd album, ‘To the Faithful Departed‘. As with all Cranberries albums, Dolores chose the name.
- It became a best seller.
- The album was about falsehood, war, drugs, death, loneliness and disappointment.
- It sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.
- It included hits such as When You’re Gone, Free to Decide and above all, Salvation, which talked about drug abuse, something Dolores O’Riordan herself did.
- On a personal level, Dolores lost a lot of weight, smoked too much 🚬 and ate too little, which led to anorexia and the cancellation of the tour.
In 1997, after the devastating Free To Decide Tour, the band decided to take a break, but was it for good? …
- It tackled themes such as love, children, marriage and many emotions contained in great songs like: Animal Instinct, Just My Imagination, You & Me and Saving Grace.
- The album sold more than 7 million copies, less than previous albums.
- The best track on the album is ‘Promises‘, which talks about all the nice things you say when you’re in love and where that leaves you when things go wrong 🙇♀️
The Cranberries Promises
The Cranberries Analyse
In 2001 they released their 5th album, ‘Wake Up and Smell The Coffee‘.
- It meant a drop in sales, in spite of having songs of great quality: ‘Analyse’, ‘Time is ticking out’, ‘This is the day’.
In 2002 they released their first compilation ‘Stars: The Best of 1992-2002’. It included all their hits plus 2 new songs.
The Cranberries break up
In September 2003, the band announced that they would be taking some time off, during which time they would focus on their solo careers.
During this time off Dolores O’Riordan would release 2 solo albums:
- 2007: Are You Listening?
- 2009: No Baggage
It’s completely different to The Cranberries. I wouldn’t have written something as dark and personal as this with the boys.
In 2009 Dolores joined Andy Rouke and Ole Koretsky in the band D.A.R.K., but The Cranberries were back in her head again, along with a lot of personal conflict…
- The title corresponds to the song Dolores wrote in memory of her father who passed away in 2011 and whom she called ‘my guiding light‘.
- The first single was ‘Tomorrow‘ and the album sold 1 million copies.
The Cranberries Roses
- In 2013 Dolores O’Riordan reported her partner and co-songwriter Noel Hogan. The case was dropped and the motive was never disclosed.
- That same year she would attempt suicide by overdose 💊, luckily not succeeding.
- On the bright side, she performed to Pope Frances, confessing to him that if she hadn’t been a musician, she would have become a missionary.
- In 2014 she separated from her husband Don Burton, after 20 years of marriage.
- That same year she was arrested for suffering from a rage episode on a flight. When police arrested her on landing, she resisted, reminding them that their taxes paid her salary and shouting, “I am the queen of Limerick! I am an icon!“, punching one officer and spitting at another.
What caused all these events?
Dolores O’Riordan was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which caused her to feel euphoric at times, and to sink into depression and alcohol at others.
- During the album tour Dolores suffered from severe back pain and had to cancel the tour.
- As they had time off, she and guitarist Noel Hogan, got back to writing. Those songs would be released on The Cranberries’ final album. A posthumous album released in 2019 under the name ‘In The End‘. It was introduced with the single ‘All Over Now‘.
The Cranberries All Over Now
The Death of Dolores O’Riordan
On 15 January 2018, at the age of 46, Dolores passed away in London. She was recording some music and was staying at the London Hilton Hotel. She had been drinking heavily and due to an accident fell into the bathtub and drowned.
The remaining members of The Cranberries decided that they could not go on without Dolores O’Riordan and the group disbanded for good.
If you’re still hungry for more, here are The Cranberries’ best songs, in an exclusive playlist 🎧