Lead singer of The Cranberries was in London
Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of popular Irish rock band The Cranberries, died Monday in London.
“Irish and international singer Dolores O’Riordan has died suddenly in London today. She was 46 years old. The lead singer with the Irish band The Cranberries, was in London for a short recording session,” the band said in a statement on Facebook.
The statement and an earlier one from her publicist did not clarify the cause of the singer’s untimely death.
Surviving band members Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawler took to Twitter to remember their late bandmate.
“We are devastated on 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,” the trio said in a statement.
O’Riordan rose to fame as the gentle voice behind The Cranberries’ biggest hits, including “Zombie” and “Linger,” the latter of which, a lilting love song, was the band’s breakthrough hit in 1993. The tune, with its distinctive string section, peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It also featured prominently in the 2006 Adam Sandler movie “Click,” prompting a brief cameo by O’Riordan to sing the song in a wedding scene.
The Limerick, Ireland, native got her start with an audition to join brothers Noel and Mike Hogan in their band the Cranberry Saw Us.
The audition proved successful, and before long, the band, with O’Riordan front and center, was an international hit on the back of their debut album “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”
After five albums and the pressures that come with being dubbed “Ireland’s biggest musical export since U2” by Rolling Stone, The Cranberries went on hiatus in 2003.
After some time apart, the band regrouped in 2009, and was slated for a European tour this past summer.
That tour, and its North American leg, was canceled as O’Riordan recovered from an “ongoing back problem,” according to The Cranberries’ website.
The band’s final album with O’Riordan at the microphone, an acoustic compilation record called “Something Else,” was released in April.
O’Riordan split from her husband, former Duran Duran tour manager Don Burton, in 2014 after 20 years of marriage and three children: Taylor Baxter, Molly Leigh and Dakota Rain.
The singer said in May that she was more than happy to swap her time in the spotlight for time at home.
“The best time in my life was the years spent at home with my family. I love being a mum. My kids don’t see me as a famous person, or have any kind of expectation; I’m just their mom,” she told the Irish News.
It’s no surprise O’Riordan expressed a sense of calm at living her life off stage.
In a recent interview, she said the sudden burst of fame The Cranberries experienced in the mid-’90s, particularly after the 1996 release of their third album “To the Faithful Departed,” was almost too much to handle.
“For as long as I could, I held on to those years like I was gripping a roller coaster ride,” she told the Irish Times in May. “I got sick, had a meltdown _ it was too much work that caused it.”
O’Riordan also revealed in May that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015. In 2013, she tried to overdose, telling the Irish Independent that she suffered from anorexia, nervous breakdowns and suicidal thoughts.
“I suppose I am meant to stay here for the kids,” the singer said.
The Cranberries wouldn’t go on hiatus for another seven years after her self-proclaimed “meltdown,” but putting the brakes on their success seemed to serve O’Riordan well: She released two solo albums during the break, “Are You Listening?” in 2007 and “No Baggage” in 2009.
By that same year, the band was back with a reunion tour, and the album “Roses” came in 2012.
“It felt natural being back with the band. The Cranberries just fit together. I think we missed each other and that can be a good thing. Sometimes it takes a break apart to make you even stronger,” she said of reviving the group.
Their latest touring venture was cut short after several shows due to O’Riordan’s health issues, but the singer had previously voiced her excitement at hitting the stage and getting back into the studio.
“Hopefully, after this tour we’ll write new material, but at the same token I genuinely don’t expect to be as successful as we once were,” she told the Irish Times. “The 1990s was our time for that, I think. We were hungry and on fire. Now, we’re older, we have kids, and I know we’ll never get those earlier moments back again. Not that I want them.”
The singer also lent her vocals to the alternative band D.A.R.K., formed by DJ Ole Koretsky and Andy Rourke, former bassist for The Smiths. The band, formerly called Jetlag, released its debut album “Science Agrees” in 2016.
As news of her sudden death broke, tributes quickly flooded in for O’Riordan.
“Take Me to Church” singer Hozier, who also hails from Ireland, praised O’Riordan’s memorable voice in a touching Twitter post.
“My first time hearing Dolores O’Riordan’s voice was unforgettable. It threw into question what a voice could sound like in that context of Rock. I’d never heard somebody use their instrument in that way. Shocked and saddened to hear of her passing, thoughts are with her family,” he wrote.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins issued a statement, praising The Cranberries’ “immense influence on rock and pop music.”
“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Dolores O’Riordan, musician, singer and song writer,” he wrote. “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.”
Singer Liz Phair also expressed her condolences.
“Devastated for fans and her family - Dolores O’Riordan had such an exquisite voice, so distinctive and defining of an era. She would have continued to be a rare musical treasure late into a long life,” Phair wrote.
Comedian James Corden, meanwhile, recalled meeting the singer as a teenager.
“I once met Dolores O’Riordan when I was 15. She was kind and lovely, I got her autograph on my train ticket and it made my day. She had the most amazing voice and presence. So sorry to hear that she’s passed away today,” he wrote on Twitter.
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