Dolores O'Riordan: A Look Back

The music world was stunned on Monday when it was announced that Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of The Cranberries, had passed away at the age of 46.

O'Riordan's unique vocals and haunting songwriting powered the iconic Irish band's astonishing rise from obscurity in the early Nineties. Though their 1993 debut, Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, was slow to catch on with a mainstream audience, it—led by the smash singles "Linger" and "Dreams"—went on to sell over 40 million copies worldwide.

The band's sophomore effort, 1994's No Need to Argue, featured "Zombie," a mournful, politically charged anthem that became the band's signature song, and one of the most culturally significant and commercially successful rock songs of the entire decade. No Need to Argue went on to sell 7 million copies in the United States alone.

The Cranberries went on to release three more albums—including 1996's multi-platinum To the Faithful Departed—before splitting up in 2003. Though the band—who reunited in 2012—never again reached the mammoth commercial heights they reached in the early-mid-Nineties, the impact of O'Riordan's music could be seen in the outpouring of tributes following her death.

"Unbelievable," wrote The Kinks' Dave Davies of her passing on Twitter. "I was talking to her a couple weeks before Christmas she seemed happy and well—we even spoke about maybe writing some songs together. God bless her."

"She had such strength of conviction yet she could speak to the fragility in all of us," wrote U2 in a statement that was posted on their Facebook.

O'Riordan struggled with back problems throughout 2017, leading the band to cancel a number of European dates that had been scheduled for last summer. A few days before Christmas though, O'Riordan wrote on the band's Facebook that she was "feeling good," and had done her first show in months at a private party a few days earlier.

The cause of O'Riordan's death has not been revealed as of yet.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.