Jan 152018
 

Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, dies aged 46

‘I have a lot of secrets about my childhood [but they] are just for me,” Dolores O’Riordan told the Guardian in 1995. She and her Limerick rock quartet, the Cranberries, were then at the peak of their success, well on the way to selling 40m albums, and O’Riordan was one of the highest profile female singers in the English-speaking world. It was nearly 20 years later that she revealed that she had been abused for four years from the age of eight by someone close to her family. By her own account, O’Riordan, who has died aged 46 of a cause as yet unknown, spent most of her adult life seeking a balance between depression and anorexia, and the rewards of great professional success.

She was 21 when the Cranberries reached the US Top 10 with their second single, Linger, which established them as a headline act there. In the UK, the influential music press decreed them unexcitingly traditional, but the public were enchanted by the group’s melodies, and especially by O’Riordan’s haunting voice; their debut album topped the British chart and the next three were Top 10 hits. It was a similar story in the rest of Europe and Australia. O’Riordan became a symbol of pride for both Ireland and the Irish diaspora.

The Cranberries’ rapid ascent exacerbated O’Riordan’s “terrible self-loathing”, generating anorexia and an eventual breakdown. A suicide attempt in 2013 was followed by a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Last year, she spoke vividly of being “at the hypomanic side of the spectrum on and off for a long period”, and a hypomanic episode was cited when she was arrested for erratic behaviour on a transatlantic flight in 2014. She told the police: “I am an icon. I am the Queen of Limerick.” There were also physical problems: a Cranberries reunion tour scheduled for 2017 in support of their first album in five years was cancelled due to O’Riordan’s back pain.

Born in Ballybricken, Co Limerick, O’Riordan was the youngest of nine children (two of whom died in infancy) of Terence O’Riordan, a former farm labourer who was left unable to work after an accident, and his wife, Eileen, a school caterer, and went to Laurel Hill, a Roman Catholic school in Limerick. She was a tomboy, burying her dolls in the garden and spending most of her time with her heavy-metal-loving brothers. Yet she also played the organ in church and, well into her teens, wore flowery dresses bought for her by her mother. The influence of her church music and the heavy rock she heard at home instilled a desire to join a band – specifically, “a band with no barriers, where I could write my own songs”. That’s what she got.

At 18 she landed a job with a Limerick group called the Cranberry Saw Us by playing an early version of a song she had written, Linger (it was inspired by her first kiss, aged 17: “I’d always thought that putting tongues in mouths was disgusting, but when he gave me my first proper kiss, I did indeed ‘have to let it linger’,” she said last year).

Equally in thrall to rock and Gaelic folk music, her voice was startling and steely, and gelled uncommonly well with the band’s melodicism. Her Doc Martens-shod, spiky-haired look provided a visual anchor, overshadowing the rest of the group entirely. Despite being out of step with the prevailing Britpop and grunge scenes, they were taken on by the Smiths’ former manager, Geoff Travis, and courted by 32 record companies. The pivotal moment came when the successful label Island booked them as the support act on the fast-rising band Suede’s 1993 American tour.

Suede’s seedy ambiguity cut no ice in the US, but the Cranberries returned home as stars. Their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, and 17m-selling 1994 follow-up, No Need to Argue, made O’Riordan so famous that, to her distress, she could not leave her hotel room. Linger and the next single, Zombie – written in response to the 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington – were ubiquitous on MTV, increasing her sense of isolation.

Despite having a metal rod put into her leg following a 1994 skiing accident, she was contractually compelled to tour throughout that year, and played some of the shows in a wheelchair. That was also the year she married Don Burton, then Duran Duran’s tour manager. Most of her happiness seems to have stemmed from their three children; when her attempt to take her life in 2013 failed, she saw it as a sign that she was meant to stay with them.

After the Cranberries split in 2003, O’Riordan launched a fitful solo career that yielded two albums, Are You Listening? (2007) and No Baggage (2009). She worked with the Smiths bassist Andy Rourke on a project called DARK, and was a judge on one season of the Irish version of the TV show The Voice. Still esteemed by other musicians, she appeared on records by Zucchero and Jam & Spoon, and at the time of her death had come to London to re-record Zombie with a rock band, Bad Wolves.

Her goal, she said in 2017, was to make at least one more album and go on tour again: “I haven’t been doing too much over the last five years. Sometimes you go through periods where you’re not writing music, you’re just dealing with your personal life.”

She and Burton divorced in 2014. Her children, Taylor, Molly and Dakota, survive her.

Jan 152018
 

On This Day


Births


           


1936 – Richard Franklin

Richard K. Franklin is an English actor, writer, director and political activist. Principally a stage actor, he has also appeared as a regular character in several high-profile British television programmes, including Crossroads, Emmerdale Farm, and most notably in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, in which he portrayed Captain Mike Yates of UNIT. Franklin initially played the part from 1971 until 1974, but has returned to the role on a number of occasions both on television and in Doctor Who spin-off media. Franklin is a prolific dramatist and author of books such as “Forest Wisdom: Radical Reform of Democracy and the Welfare State” reflecting his left-wing political views and activism, as well as novels based in the Doctor Who universe. Franklin has stood as an independent candidate for Parliament several times and founded the Silent Majority Party.

Age 82


1976 – Kevin Harper

Kevin Patrick Harper is a Scottish footballer, who played for Hibernian, Derby County, Walsall, Portsmouth, Norwich City, Leicester City, Stoke City, Carlisle United and Dunfermline Athletic. At the age of thirty-nine, he came out of retirement to play for Scottish Junior Football Association, West Region side Thorniewood United.

Harper played 128 times for Portsmouth scoring 9 goals between 2000 – 2004

Age 42


1996 – Dove Cameron

    

Dove Olivia Cameron (born Chloe Celeste Hosterman) is an American actress and singer, best known for playing a dual role as both title characters in the Disney Channel teen sitcom Liv and Maddie and playing Mal, daughter of Maleficent in Descendants. She reprised her role as Mal in Descendants 2, which premiered on July 21, 2017, on Disney Channel.

Age 22


1998 – Ally Ioannides

Alexia “Ally” Ioannides is a Greek-American actress, best known for playing Dylan Jones in the NBC drama series Parenthood from 2014–15, and Tilda in the 2015 AMC martial arts drama series Into the Badlands.

Age 20


Deaths


      


1990 – Gordon Jackson

Born: 19 December 1923

Gordon Cameron Jackson, OBE was a Scottish Emmy Award-winning actor best remembered for his roles as the butler Angus Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs and as George Cowley, the head of CI5, in The Professionals. He also portrayed Flt. Lt. Andrew MacDonald, “Intelligence”, in The Great Escape.

Died Aged 66


2014 – Roger Lloyd-Pack

Born: 08 February 1944

Roger Lloyd-Pack was an English actor. He was best known for the role of Trigger in Only Fools and Horses from 1981 to 2003. He had a supporting role of Owen Newitt in The Vicar of Dibley from 1994 to 2007, and as Tom in The Old Guys with Clive Swift. He was also well known for his appearance as Barty Crouch, Sr. in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and his appearances in Doctor Who as John Lumic in the episodes “Rise of the Cybermen” and “The Age of Steel”. He was sometimes credited without the hyphen in his surname. He died early in 2014 from pancreatic cancer.

Died Aged 69


2018 – Dolores O’Riordan

Born: 06 September 1971

Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan was an Irish musician and singer-songwriter. She led the rock band the Cranberries for 13 years before the band took a break starting in 2003, reuniting in 2009.

Her first solo album, Are You Listening?, was released in May 2007 and was followed up by No Baggage in 2009. O’Riordan was known for her lilting mezzo-soprano voice, her emphasised use of yodeling and for her strong Limerick accent. She appeared as a judge on RTÉ’s The Voice of Ireland during the 2013–14 season. In April 2014, O’Riordan joined and began recording new material with the trio D.A.R.K.

O’Riordan died unexpectedly while she was in London, England, for a recording session.

Died Aged 69


On This Day   .   Dove Cameron   .   Dolores O’Riordan Obituary