• Merrick Wells

A Lingering Eulogy

Updated: Dec 29, 2019


Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan 6 September 1971- 15 January 2018

The internationally acclaimed Irish singer has died in London. Her lilting, distinctive voice made her a cultural icon of the nineties, yet her fame lead to isolation and despair as she wrestled with the concept of unrelenting success.

Born in Ballybricken, County Limerick, the youngest of nine children she had always showed a talent for music and was very clear about her intention to be a member of a band that would enable her the freedom to write her own material. By the tender age of 18 she had clinched the role of lead singer for the band "The Cranberry Saw Us" after performing her song "Linger", inspired by her first kiss.

Her visual style and enchanting voice garnered all the attention, leaving the rest of the band in her shadow and the Cranberries (as they became known) became one of the most successful bands in popular music.

Their first album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? and follow up No Need to Argue were effectively a staple on the CD and tape shelves of an entire generation. Such success had profound effects on O'Riordan as she felt isolated and alone in the fish bowl of fame.

The band eventually split in 2003 and O'Riordan went on to work on solo albums and collaborate with other artists. At the time of her death she was in London rerecording Zombie with rock band Bad Wolves.

Her fragility and simultaneous strength appealed across the generations. Her haunting voice peels out across the years, beguiling melodies that blended rock and traditional gaelic influences, a folk trad pop that at first unconvinced the critics but stole the hearts of the public. Her indomitable style hid frailties and ghosts that were to plague her for much of her life.

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