The Cranberries were an exception to my music collection. In earlier times, going back to the 1960s, I might have had several albums by a single performer, such as The Beatles, the Supremes, Joni Mitchell, or Talking Heads, to name just a few.
But by the 1990s, I was generally getting just one album for a given artist, maybe two, usually with the big hit. So it is significant that I actually bought and own the first three CDs by The Cranberries, a group out of Limerick, Ireland. There was something infectious in their sound.
Part of it, of course, was the voice of Dolores O’Riorden, who died unexpectedly in January 2018 at the age of 46. The group also included Fergal Lawler on drums, and brothers Noel Hogan on guitar and Mike Hogan on bass.
“Noel Hogan wrote the music for [‘Linger’] before Dolores O’Riordan joined the band. Originally, it had lyrics written by the group’s first singer, a bloke named Niall Quinn… After she was hired, she wrote her own set of lyrics, turning it into a song of regret based on a soldier she once fell in love with…
“The Cranberries recorded the first version… in 1990 at their manager’s studio in Limerick… which found [its] way to various record companies. Island Records signed the band, which released their first EP, Uncertain, in 1991. ‘Linger’ was not part of that EP, as they wanted to save the song for when they built a bigger fan base.
The song was included on their debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, and issued as their second UK single (after ‘Dreams’), it cracking the UK charts at #74 for a week in February 1993.
“The band didn’t make it to America until that summer when they toured as the opening act for The The. ‘Linger’ was issued as a single later that year… They were already working on their next album when the song caught on in the States.
“It wasn’t until February 12, 1994, that ‘Linger’ reached its peak position of #8 on the US chart. A week later, the reissued single topped out at #14 in the UK.”
Zombie is a notable track from No Need To Argue (1994).
The most disturbing cut from the appropriately labeled To The Faithfully Departed (1996) is I Just Shot John Lennon, a narrative of the events of the night of December 8, 1980. “What a sad and sorry and sickening sight,” the lyrics accurately proclaim.
Listen to (chart action from the US Billboard charts):
Linger, #8 in 1994
Dreams, #42 in 1994
Zombie, #22 in 1994
Ode to My Family, #39 in 1994, and the B-side to Zombie
Salvation, #21 in 1996
When You’re Gone, #22 in 1997
Free to Decide, #48 in 1996, and the B-side of When You’re Gone
I Just Shot John Lennon, 1996
Zombie – Bad Wolves; a cover Dolores O’Riordan was set to appear on before her death