When you think of the quintessential musical sound of the early 90s, most people’s first response will always be The Cranberries. With heavy hearts, it has been announced that the lead singer Dolores O’Riordan has passed away at age 46. Her publicist informed the public of the death of Cranberry’s lead singer on Monday, January 16th following a police report that stated that a woman in her 40s was found dead in her hotel room.
The police are not treating her death as suspicious, though details of how she died have not yet been released. Anyone who has ever listened to The Cranberries immediately gets hooked on Dolores’s melodic and angelic voice. Her music inspired generations of people in the 90s, right up to the new millennium.
I remember my sister getting ready for high school fairly early every morning, and The Cranberries were always a staple sound in our household. Originally from a town called Ballybricken in Limerick, Ireland, the alternative rock band quickly rose to fame in the early 90s after the release of their album Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Don’t We? which featured songs like Dreams and Linger quickly dominated the charts.
Known for her melodic yodelling and Irish accent, Dolores became a musical icon. Her music was featured in movies, and television, but The Cranberries’ second album, No Need To Argue solidified their success as the undeniable musical sound of the 90s. With songs like Ode To My Family, and of course Zombie, no teenager growing up in this time was without a Cranberries CD. It was announced that Dolores passed in her London hotel room while visiting the city for another recording session.
In 2014 Dolores was arrested for an in-flight rage incident while travelling from New York to Shannon. She reportedly head-butted an officer, shouting that she was the “Queen of Limerick” but later apologized for the incident. Dolores claimed that stress from a recent trip to New York City, as well as the end of her 20-year marriage to former band manager Don Burton, was to blame for her outburst.
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Fast forward to May 2017, Dolores was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, a condition that may have been responsible for her outburst in 2014. There is no word on whether or not this condition was a cause of her death. Her former band members released a statement on her Twitter feed saying, “We are devastated by the passing of our friend Dolores. She was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life from 1989 when we started the Cranberries. The world has lost a true artist today. Noel, Mike and Fergal.”
On a more personal note, The Cranberries was a sound of great comfort and escape for me in my youth. Dolores’s hauntingly beautiful melodies allowed for escape and refuge during my turbulent years of being bullied in grade school and my early years in high school. After graduating and transitioning to University then later in my adult life, I sort of forgot how big of an influence this band had on me growing up. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that the song Dreams came onto the radio during a frustrating time in my life when I couldn’t hold a job, and I was dealing with depression. I parked the car at a dock near Lake St. Clair, where I sobbed as the song played on. It seems like a cheesy tragic scene in a movie, but the experience reminded me of the pain of my past and somehow reminded me that I would get through this time as I had before.
The announcement that Dolores O’Riordan has died shook me when I heard it. I put Dreams on repeat and reminded myself that death is a part of life, but so is living. To quote The Cranberries, “A totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind, you’re everything to me.”
Rest in Peace Dolores.