The people that we never meet in life but still hold reverence for always seem like figures that are larger than life, mostly in part because they are. The human mind allows us to put them in a box or mental space of our own choosing, as we haven’t ever shook their hand or hugged them or even seen them from at a distance from across the room. I like to think about these people doing great things and being benevolent to the lesser among us, and to those who live their lives holding reverence for them.
Dolores O’Riordan was the lead singer of The Cranberries. She and her band was on the first episode of Saturday Night Live that I ever saw. Not knowing what the show was, my sister had taped it from the night before and showed it to me on that next Sunday afternoon. The music of The Cranberries was both enchanting and haunting, leading to my joining Colombia House that day and getting their first two albums among the eight total that was ordered, all for the low price of a penny. A deal if there ever was one, the Nineties were a truly different time.
Being all of a stupid 13 years old, The Cranberries were one of the bands that I grew up with. Their song “Dreams” was played what seemed like four times every two hours on different pop and rock radio stations of the Phoenix Metro area in this time. At my 7th grade talent show (in the Fall of 1994) at Poston Junior High, our jovial English Lit teacher Mr. Weitbrecht played the drum set with three 7th-grade girls who were trying their best to Karaoke-sing O’Riordan’s voice the best they could (Mr. Weitbrecht was the best part of that song that day, I will tell you). The song was announced weekly by Casey Kasem on the America’s Top 40 for what seemed like a few years solid. They were top of the Zeitgeist as far as I could be concerned
Further and more reliable smash hits followed like “Linger” and “Zombie”, among others. The albums Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? and No Need To Argue encapsulated very well my junior high years, along with the larger mid-’90s modern pop rock culture that wasn’t drowned out with Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam, both of which also had their esteemed places. Those two albums were #1 and #2 for a few years, every song changing my DNA from an adolescent who didn’t know much about music into one that couldn’t drop finger-drumming any number of their songs, much to the annoyance of my teachers and friends.
The Cranberries were a band that touched people for many years. Today’s a day to pull out their music from your dusty cassette and compact-disc collections and hold them and O’Riordan to reverence. It’s great music from soulful people, and I don’t know that you can ask for more from talented musicians. Dolores O’Riordan was 46 years old, and she died much too young. May she rest in a peaceful place.