News of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan’s death on Monday shocked fans, with the 46-year-old’s death initially classified by London police as “unexplained.” The Irish group hadn’t had a big profile in America for many years, but in the mid-1990s they scored massive hits with “Dreams,” “Linger,” Zombie” and “Salvation.” They were so inescapable in that time they even got a nod in Clueless when rich kid Elton raised his hand in Mr. Hall’s class and asked if he could go to the quad to get his Cranberries CD “before somebody snags it.”
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Their biggest album was 1994’s No Need to Argue, which they promoted with an MTV Unplugged special that taped Valentine’s Day of 1995 at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Their album was Number 10 on the Billboard 200 that week, lodged between Mary J. Blige’s My Life and Hootie and the Blowfish’s Cracked Rear View. Check out this acoustic rendition of “Zombie” from the MTV Unplugged sessions, in which the band enlisted a string section. The song was inspired by two young children that were killed by an IRA bombing.
The group’s commercial fortunes waned in the early 2000s and they split in 2003, though in 2009 they reunited for a new tour and released the LP Roses in 2012. They took a bit of a break after that, but in 2016 went back on the road and resumed the tour last year. Their final show took place May 20th, 2017 at the Palladium in London. More dates were booked, but the band yanked them because Dolores was dealing with “ongoing back problems.” A cause of death has yet to be announced.