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#ThrowbackThursday: “Linger” by The Cranberries

The Cranberries “Linger” Island Records

By Matt Clizbe

Since the news broke earlier this week, it is our sad duty to acknowledge the sudden and tragic death of the voice of a generation.  As it was widely reported, Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of The Cranberries died in a London hotel room on Monday. She was 46 years old.

Because of her distinctive, soul piercing vocals, Limerick Ireland’s The Cranberries were able to amass a discography of eight albums that span  across 22 years. Despite the news of her unexpected death, The Limerick based band was often known for maintaining a grounded and introspective perspective in the press. Even when facing tabloid based pressures as a female lead singer centered around incorrect reporting, in her younger days, Dolores notably avoided most of the cliche trappings of fame, successfully separating her private life and maintaining uniquely centered role as an artistic  leader and of the 90s grunge scene that embraced that also embraced their timeless pop flare.

In the wake of her passing, O’Riordan was possibly described best by her bandmate and frequent songwritting partner, Noel Hogan. In an email to Rollingstone, Hogan reacted to her death stating;

“In the early days, the band was very shy; especially Dolores. She sang with her back to the audience but sang songs that people could relate to. There was no big act. I don’t think people were used to this, and it seemed to resonate with them.

“I’m not sure at what point Dolores accepted fame, or if she ever did. We would get a great kick out of it all, as if it were someone else that people were coming to see or talk about.”


However well balanced, her famous journey with The Cranberries began in 1990, following the departure of the band’s original male lead singer left after less than a year.  Following the shakeup, the remaining members shifted gears, searching for a female singer.  Dolores stood out as the one of a kind singer they were looking for, auditioning with her own material.  

My earliest memory of Dolores singing is the first day I met her” Hogan told Rolling Stone.

“We used to rehearse in a local studio in Limerick called Xeric. Dolores came in to hear us play and we got to hear her sing. She had a small keyboard that she set up and sang a few songs she had written. We were all blown away that this small girl from Limerick had such an amazing voice. The fact that she wasn’t already in a band was a miracle.”

Her voice was the miracle the rest of the band needed to find their previously missing success.  The original material that won her the gig turned out to be the a rough version of what would become their breakthrough hit “Linger.”  She was highered, and the star making formation cut a demo that would turn heads around the world, and eventually change their lives. Local buzz created old an fashioned label buzz that lead to a bidding war in 1991.  Thanks to the strength of the demo version of “Linger”, the band eventually signed with Island Records, and record producer Stephen Street, who has also helmed albums for the likes of The Smiths, and Blur.  Then, following a transitional delay, they released their Stephen Street produced debut in late 1993 debut, Everyone Else Is Doing It So Why Can’t We?

Once again, thanks to the strength of “Linger”, they were able to achieve yet another level of success, and this time it would grow steadily.  By the end of 93 “Linger” made its way into rotation in the United States, launching them to the star status they would be known for.  Based on a tenderhearted narrative of a first kiss from  Dolores’real life. From then on, “Linger” served as the launching pad of everything they’d become famous for thereafter.  American eagerness towards “Linger” lead to it becoming an international hit, blazing a trail for the success of songs like “Dreams”, enabled them to evolve into a leader of grunge with “Zombie”, and eventually lead to them to sell 28 million albums leading up to the height of their success.

In addition to Success with The Cranberries, Dolores made a point to diversify in the new millennium. Following a Plot driven cameo in Adam Sandler’s family comedy Click, in which she sang “Linger” in 2006, she also transitioned to releasing solo albums, Are You Listening in 2007, and No Baggage in 2009.  The band then reunited to release Roses in 2012, and Something Else in 2017.

The public news of Dolores’ death came as a surprise. As of now, her cause of death isn’t known. Police don’t suspect suspicious behavior.  Fellow Cranberries member had this to say about her legacy in his email to Rolling Stone:

“Dolores’ legacy will be her music. She was so passionate about it. There are songs I hear today that we wrote over 20 years ago, and I see and hear people singing along with them. There are only a few artists who get to have maybe one song they are remembered by. Dolores has so many. It’s a great legacy.”

To honor that legacy,this week’s #TBT is  the song that started it all. Check out “Linger” below. Rest in peace Dolores. Thank you for the music.

The Cranberries


From Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

Island Records

The Cranberries “Linger” Featured In “Click” “Forever And Ever Babe”

From Click (2006)

Revolution Studios/Happy Madison Productions/Original Film/Columbia Pictures

The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan Featured In Adam Sandler’s “Click”

From Click (2006)

Revolution Studios/Happy Madison Productions/Original Film/Columbia Pictures