Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dolores O'Riordan Passes On

Dolores O'Riordan, best known as the lead vocalist for Irish band The Cranberries, died unexpectedly on January 15 2018. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Dolores O'Riordan was born on September 6 1971 in Ballybricken, County Limerick.  Reportedly she was singing before she could even talk. By the time she was a teenager Miss O'Riordan was already writing songs, inspired by such bands as Duran Duran and The Smiths. While her talent developed at an early age, she was also a terribly shy person. Performing on stage frightened her.

Regardless, it was in 1989 that Dolores O'Riordan responded to an advertisement looking for a lead singer placed by local Limerick band The Cranberry Saw Us. Miss O'Riordan then became the lead vocalist of the band, which was soon renamed The Cranberries. One of their early demo tapes, featuring the songs "Linger" and "Dreams" came to the attention of the recording industry. They eventually signed with Island Records.

Their first single, "Dreams", was released on September 29 1992. Their first album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, was released on March 1 1993. Initially neither the single nor the album did particularly well on the charts, nor did their second single "Linger". The Cranberries went on tour supporting Suede, which brought them to the attention of MTV. The channel then put the videos for "Dreams" and "Linger" in heavy rotation. This ultimately propelled Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? to the top of the Irish and British album charts. It would peak at a very respectable no. 18 on the Billboard album chart.

The Cranberries' next few albums  (No Need to Argue, To the Faithful Departed, and Bury the Hatchet) all did very well, topping the British chart and performing respectably in North America and Europe. In 1994 they had an international success with the single "Zombie". Sadly, their fifth album, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, would not do nearly as well as their previous efforts. It only peaked at no. 61 on the British album chart and no. 46 on the Billboard album chart. It did perform well in both Ireland and Europe.

It was in September 2003 that The Cranberries decided to go on hiatus. During the hiatus Dolores O'Riordan was featured as a guest vocalist on Italian artist Zucchero's album Zu & Co. on the song "Pure Love" and on German duo Jam & Spoon's album Tripomatic Fairytales 3003 on the song "Mirror Lover". Her first solo album, Are You Listening?, was released in May 2007. It was followed by a second solo album, No Baggage, in 2009.

It was in 2009 that The Cranberries reunited. Their sixth album, Roses, was released in February 2012. It was in 2014 that Dolores O'Riordan began working with Andy Rourke of The Smiths and Olé Koretsky as part of Jetlag, eventually renamed D.A.R.K. D.A.R.K. released a single album, Science Agrees, in September 2016. In April 2017 The Cranberries released the album Something Else.

Dolores O'Riordan was both a remarkable songwriter and a remarkable vocalist. She was blessed with a rather singular mezzo-soprano voice, and her Limerick accent could be heard in nearly every one of her songs. Her haunting voice fit her songs well, which were blatantly emotional during a decade, the Nineties, which was supposed to be all about being cool and aloof. Even on topical songs, such as "Zombie" and "Free to Decide", Miss O'Riordan's songs were about feelings. Dolores O'Riordan might have been cool, but she was never aloof. As both a singer and a songwriter, that was her strength.

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