Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “The 90’s Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

The last time The Cranberries guitarist Noel Hogan saw Dolores O’Riordan was in the Limerick hotel in November 2017.

Rock fans fell in love with The Cranberries in the early ’90s, thanks to the haunting, Celtic-inspired voice of the Irish rock band’s lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan. The Cranberries, made up of O’Riordan on lead vocal, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawler on drums, created an intoxicating juxtaposition of grunge and alternative rock, with O’Riordan’s lilting lyrics searing through right in. Between her vocal power, her vulnerable songwriting and her Irish accent peaking through every syllable sung, O’Riordan made The Cranberries stand out.

O’Riordan was living in New York and she wanted distraction. She was in good spirits and in good health although ongoing back problems – a slipped disc, from picking up a guitar – had led to a cancelled tour.

Christmas came and went, but the Cranberries were still recording. O’Riordan would send Hogan vocals by email. On 14 January, she emailed him new songs: she had flown to London to mix an album with her side project D.A.R.K. At 1.12am on 15 January, calling from the Park Lane Hilton, she left a friend an excited voicemail in which she said a new recording was sounding “fucking terribly good”. At 2am, she spoke to her mother. Later that night, she died. An inquest ruled the 46-year-old had drowned accidentally in the bath, with high levels of alcohol in her blood. Hogan looks around the lobby and says it is hard to believe that the last time he saw her it was somewhere so mundane.

“We’d pass each other in the corridor,” says bassist Mike Hogan, Noel’s brother, who was only 20 when the band achieved international fame. “Dolores would say: ‘You know that thing you recorded?’ I’d say: ‘You mean the thing that took me five hours to get right?’ She’d say: ‘Yeah, it’s not working!’ This time around, there were nights when we were waiting, looking for her to come in the door.”

When she first sang, I wondered how and why she wasn’t already in a band. I didn’t want to question our luck.

The Cranberries, Zombie. Album: No Need To Argue (1994)

This was inspired by the IRA bombing in Warrington, Cheshire, England on March 20, 1993. Two children, Jonathan Ball and Tim Parry, were killed. The IRA (Irish Republican Army) is a militant group that was determined to remove British troops from Northern Ireland.

Lead singer Dolores O’Riordan claimed that “Zombie” speaks about “the Irish fight for independence that seems to last forever.” The lyrics even say, “It’s the same old theme since 1916.”

Like the responsive works of Yeats, Heaney and U2, the Cranberries claim they wrote “Zombie” to be a “song for peace, peace among England and Ireland.”

This song takes the unassailable position that killing young children is tragic, but in venturing into the political fray, it created a great deal of controversy. This didn’t surprise O’Riordan. “I knew that would be the angle of the song, because it was controversial,” she said in an interview. “But, I suppose I was kind of taken aback with the success of the song. I didn’t know it was going to be that successful.”

The video was shot by Samuel Bayer, who flew to Belfast shortly before the ceasefire to get footage of the area – those are real British soldiers and local children. Bayer intercut these scenes with striking images of Dolores O’Riordan, standing by a cross and covered in gold paint, as similarly gilded children look on. Bayer, who began as a painter, was wildly creative in his videos when given free rein. His best-known work is Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Getting painted for the video was O’Riordan’s idea. Explaining the symbolism, she told us, “It was to make it magnificent in a way, at the cross. It was metaphoric for all the pain that was being caused, and it was slightly religious as well.”

On August 31, 1994, just a few weeks after this song was released, the IRA declared a ceasefire after 25 years of conflict, leading some critics of The Cranberries to wonder if the IRA was willing to call a truce to make sure the group didn’t release any more songs about them.

In celebration of Zombie hitting a billion views, the video has been restored to 4K. Watch below.

Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan dies aged 46

By Paul Hosford

She had been in London for a recording session.

She was 46 and is survived by three children.

O’Riordan passed away at a hotel in Westminster this morning. Police were called to the Park Lane address around 9am, where O’Riordan was pronounced dead.

They are treating the death as unexplained.

A statement from her PR agency said:

“Irish and international singer Dolores O’Riordan has died suddenly in London today. The lead singer with the Irish band The Cranberries, was in London for a short recording session. No further details are available at this time.

“Family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”

O’Riordan became the lead singer in The Cranberries before the Limerick band would go on to gain huge success in the early to mid 90s.

O’Riordan became the lead singer in The Cranberries before the Limerick band would go on to gain huge success in the early to mid 90s.

The band went on to have four US Top 20 albums, with single Linger landing at number 8 in the US. Zombie, which rose to number three in the Irish charts, remains among the band’s best-known songs.

The band would release Wake Up and Smell the Coffee in 2001 before going on hiatus in 2003. They reformed in 2012 to release Roses and again last year for Something Else. The band was forced to cancel all of its dates on that tour due to O’Riordan’s back problems. The band sold around 40 million records worldwide.

Before Christmas, she posted to the band’s Facebook page saying:

“Feeling good! I did my first bit of gigging in months at the weekend, performed a few songs at the Billboard annual staff holiday party in New York with the house band. Really enjoyed it! Happy Christmas to all our fans!! Xo”

O’Riordan had also released two solo albums; 2007′s Are You Listening? and 2009′s No Baggage.

Tributes have begun pouring in to O’Riordan, with one calling her the “Queen of Limerick”.

President Michael D Higgins said:

“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Dolores O’Riordan, musician, singer and song writer.

Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally.

I recall with fondness the late Limerick TD Jim Kemmy’s introduction of her and The Cranberries to me, and the pride he and so many others took in their successes.

“To all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians and the performing arts her death will be a big loss.”

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone called her “an icon”, while singer Frank Turner wrote: “Oh lord. Not Dolores O’Riordan. Grew up singing Cranberries songs. Tragic news.”

Local TD Jan O’Sullivan added:

“Dolores was an iconic figure of 90s Irish music. The music Dolores made has touched many people. Her talent and that of her bandmates put Limerick on the map musically.”

Arts Minister Josepha Madigan said:

“She was an inspiration to many across the world and had a truly unique voice. Her haunting vocals on classics such as Linger and Zombie will live on forever.”

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: