The lead singer of the Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan, who had one of the most distinctive voices in music, has died at age 46.
The Irish-born O’Riordan was in London for a recording session, according to the statement from the singer’s publicist. No cause of death was initially reported.
When the news broke earlier today, I turned on Spotify and put The Cranberries on shuffle, and the music quickly took me back to the 1990s. While I would never claim to be The Cranberries’ biggest fan, I realized how many of the bands’ songs were part of the soundtrack of my high school and college life.
The band’s first studio album, 1993’s Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? sold more than 40 million records worldwide on the strength of songs like “Dreams” and “Linger,” both of which were hit singles off the album. O’Riordan’s voice penetrated the soul and gave the band a sound that no other band could touch. The follow-up album, No Need To Argue, was released in 1994 and featured what is probably the band’s biggest hit.
“Zombie” was a protest song released in an era where the most common form of protest was apathy and detachment from the rest of the world. The song hit number one on the Billboard Alternative charts and 18 on the Mainstream Top 40.
My favorite Cranberries song, though, came on the band’s third album, To The Faithfully Departed, which dropped in April 1996. “When You’re Gone” was the third single released off the album, and the rock ballad played a part in any number of mix CDs I created back in the day.
Last year, The Cranberries announced a tour that would hit Europe and the US, though much of the tour was cancelled in May. According to the band’s website, the tour was cancelled due to O’Riordan having back problems. The singer announced on Facebook last month that she was feeling better and that she performed at the Billboard staff holiday party in New York.