The Cranberries

  • Alt rock band formed in Limerick Ireland in 1989. The original members were Noel Hogan (guitar, backing vocals, songwriting), Mike Hogan (bass guitar, backing vocals), Fergal Lawler (drums) and Niall Quinn (lead vocals). Quinn was replaced in 1990 by Delores O’Riordan, who wrote all of the lyrics to their songs.
  • In their late teens, the Hogan brothers formed the band, calling themselves The Cranberry Saw Us. An EP was recorded, but Quinn soon left, and the remaining members placed an advertisement looking for a female singer. O’Riordan auditioned, bringing to the band some songs she had written. When they heard her perform her song Linger, she was hired, and the group recorded a two EPs in 1990 – Water Circle and Nothing Left At All. Water Circle was a demo that was sent to record companies, which led to their signing with a small indie label. Nothing Left At All was commercially available – 300 copies were made and sold.
  • In 1991, they shortened their name to The Cranberries, and they recorded Uncertain, an EP produced by the owner of their record label. It received poor reviews by the Irish press, and the producer was fired. They hired a new manager, and were signed by another major record label. They toured in Ireland and the UK, and appeared on radio and television shows, increasing fan interest.
  • Their debut single, Dreams, was released in September 1992, and their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We was released early the next year. Linger also was released as a single. The songs and albums did not sell well initially. A year after the release of the singles, they caught the attention of MTV, which put the videos into heavy rotation. This propelled the band into stardom – the album reached #1 in the UK and #18 in the U.S., and ultimately was certified 5x platinum in the U.S. Linger was re-released, and it peaked at #8 on the Hot 100.
  • The Cranberries released their second studio album in 1994. Titled No Need To Argue, it became their biggest album, reaching #1 in many European countries and Australia, and #6 in the U.S. It sold over 7 million copies in the U.S. and over 13 million copies globally. The song Zombie, a protest song about an Irish Republican Army bombing in 1991, was #1 on the Alternative Songs chart, and it won Best Song at the 1995 MTV Europe Music Awards. Another single Ode To My Family, reached #11 on the Modern Rock chart.
  • 1996’s album To The Faithful Departed was successful, certified 2x platinum and reaching #4 on the U.S. album chart. They promoted the album with appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman, MTV Unplugged and MTV Video Music Awards. The song Salvation topped the Modern Rock Tracks chart, and Free To Decide and When You’re Gone both charted.
  • Their next 2 albums were less successful, and they went on hiatus in 2003. The band members focused on solo projects until 2009, when they reunited and toured in North America and Europe. A new album, Roses, was released in 2012, and in 2017, they released Something Else, which included 10 unplugged versions of previous songs, plus 3 new songs. They scheduled a tour to support the album, but much of it was cancelled due to O’Riodan’s herniated disk.
  • In January 2018, O’Riordan died unexpectedly at the age of 46, drowning in a bathtub while intoxicated (for more on O’Riordan, see my “Gone Too Soon” post from February 4, 2018). She had already recorded the vocals for a new album, and the band decided to go forward with it. It was released in 2019, titled In The End. The first single, All Over Now, was released in January that year. The group disbanded after the release of the album.
  • The Cranberries remained true to their alt rock roots throughout their nearly 30 years together. I just listened to All Over Now – a beautiful song that sounds much like The Cranberries from the 90s. If you’re an alt rock fan and haven’t listened to them, start streaming their songs. O’Riordan unique vocals and songwriting definitely make them special. Zombie and Linger are signature songs.
  • O’Riordan was scheduled to contribute vocals on a cover version of Zombie by the heavy metal band Bad Wolves, but she died before she could. Bad Wolves released the song without her, donating $250,000 to her children. This version topped the Mainstream Rock chart. Here’s the video to both versions of Zombie.

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