I began working on this post earlier yesterday, Jan 15th being the actual anniversary date of Dolores O’Riordan’s death in 2018, but balked at finishing the damnable thing. For any fan of O’Riordan’s music (and I most definitely am that), let alone the family and friends who loved her best, it’s a most painful anniversary indeed. In the end, though, I just couldn’t let it go by unremarked.
What an incredible talent she was. From Wikipedia:
Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan (/oʊˈrɪərdən/ oh-REER-dən; 6 September 1971 – 15 January 2018) was an Irish musician, singer and songwriter. She was best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist for the alternative rock band the Cranberries. One of the most recognizable voices in rock in the 1990s, she was known for her lilting mezzo-soprano voice, signature yodel, emphasized use of keening, and strong Limerick accent.
O’Riordan was born in County Limerick, Ireland, to a Catholic working-class family. She began to perform as a soloist in her church choir before leaving secondary school to join the Cranberries in 1990. Recognised for her “unique” voice, she quickly achieved worldwide fame. During her lifetime, she released seven studio albums with the Cranberries, including four number-one albums. Over the years, she contributed to the release of Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (1993), No Need to Argue (1994), To the Faithful Departed (1996), Bury the Hatchet (1999) and Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (2001) before taking a six-year hiatus starting in 2003.
O’Riordan’s first solo album, Are You Listening?, was released in May 2007 and was followed up by No Baggage in August 2009. She reunited with the Cranberries the same year. The band released Roses (2012) and went on a world tour. 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. Throughout her life, she had to overcome personal challenges. O’Riordan struggled with depression and the pressure of her own success, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015. She subsequently released her last album with the group, Something Else (2017).
O’Riordan died from drowning due to alcohol intoxication in January 2018. The following year, the Cranberries released the Grammy-nominated album In the End (2019), featuring her final vocal recordings, and subsequently disbanded. With the Cranberries, O’Riordan sold more than 40 million albums worldwide during her lifetime; that total increased to almost 50 million albums worldwide as of 2019, excluding her solo albums. In the US, she was awarded fourteen Platinum album certifications by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and in Canada, ten Platinum certifications. In the UK, she received five Platinum certifications. She was honoured with the Ivor Novello International Achievement award, and in the months following her death, she was named “The Top Female Artist of All Time” on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs chart.
Tragically, Dolores had a pretty tough go of things, beginning early on in her life.
In 2013, O’Riordan told LIFE Magazine she was molested for four years starting when she was 8 years old by someone whom she trusted.
The rocker often talked about how motherhood was her priority, and also said having children changed her life for the better. “The kids were actually completely elemental in my healing process,” she told LIFE about trying to move on from the abuse.
In 2011, O’Riordan was also devastated after losing her father Terence to cancer. “I felt him around me a lot for a while. I could feel him trying to protect me and communicate with me,” she told Billboard last year.
She also revealed to the Belfast Telegraph that she “tried to overdose” in 2013, but that she was “meant to stay here for the kids.”
Additionally, she opened up to the outlet about her struggles with substance abuse. “I am pretty good but sometimes I hit the bottle,” she said. “Everything is way worse the next morning. I have a bad day when I have bad memories and I can’t control them and I hit the bottle. I kind of binge drink. That is kind of my biggest flaw at the moment.”
But enough of all that sort of thing. When we remember Dolores O’Riordan, let it be her soaring, lovely voice which transcends the despair for us, lighting up mortal darkness in the way that only music can ever do.
Rest easy, Dolores, and be ye now and forevermore at peace.
A great loss that one is. The accent combined with that beautiful voice is one of a kind.