January 15, 2018 – Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries) was born Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan on September 6, 1971 brought up in Ballybricken, a town in County Limerick, Ireland. She was the daughter of Terence and Eileen O’Riordan and the youngest of seven children. She attended Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ school in Limerick.
In 1990 O’Riordan auditioned for and won the role of lead singer for a band called the Cranberry Saw Us (later changed to the Cranberries). The band became a sensation as it released five albums: 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) and a greatest-hits compilation entitled Stars: The Best of 1992–2002 (2002), before they went on hiatus in 2003.
In 2004, she appeared with the Italian artist Zucchero on the album Zu & Co., with the song “Pure Love”. The album also featured other artists such as Sting, Sheryl Crow, Luciano Pavarotti, Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, Macy Gray and Eric Clapton. The same year she worked with composer Angelo Badalamenti on the Evilenko soundtrack, providing vocals on several tracks, including “Angels Go to Heaven”, the movie theme.
In 2005, she appeared on the Jam & Spoon’s album Tripomatic Fairytales 3003 as a guest vocalist on the track “Mirror Lover”. O’Riordan also made a cameo appearance in the Adam Sandler comedy Click, released on 23 June 2006, as a wedding singer performing an alternate version of The Cranberries’ song “Linger”, set to strings. Her first single, “Ordinary Day”, was produced by BRIT Awards winner, Youth, whose previous credits include The Verve, Embrace, Primal Scream, U2 and Paul McCartney. O’Riordan made an appearance live on The Late Late Show on 20 April 2007.
Are You Listening? , her first solo album was released in Ireland in 4 May 2007, in Europe on 7 May, and in North America on 15 May. “Ordinary Day” was its first single, released in late April. The video for “Ordinary Day” was shot in Prague. In August “When We Were Young” was released as the second single from the album.
On 19 November 2007, she cancelled the remainder of her European Tour (Lille, Paris, Luxembourg, Warsaw and Prague) due to illness. In December she performed in a few small American clubs, including Des Moines, Nashville, and a well-received free show in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In 2008, O’Riordan won an EBBA Award. Every year the European Border Breakers Awards recognise the success of ten emerging artists or groups who reached audiences outside their own countries with their first internationally released album in the past year.
Dolores O’Riordan was known for her lilting mezzo-soprano voice, her emphasized use of yodeling and for her strong Limerick accent. In January 2009, the University Philosophical Society (Trinity College, Dublin) invited The Cranberries to reunite for a concert celebrating O’Riordan’s appointment as an honorary member of the Society, which led the band members to consider reuniting for a tour and a recording session. On 25 August 2009, while promoting her solo album No Baggage in New York City on 101.9 RXP radio, O’Riordan announced the reunion of the Cranberries for a world tour. The tour began in North America in mid-November, followed by South America in mid-January 2010 and Europe in March 2010. Also touring with the original members of The Cranberries was Denny DeMarchi, who played the keyboard for O’Riordan’s solo albums.
The band played songs from O’Riordan’s solo albums, many of the Cranberries’ classics, as well as new songs the band had been working on. On 9 June 2010 The Cranberries performed at the Special Olympics opening ceremony at Thomond Park in Limerick. This was the first time the band had performed in their native city in over 15 years.
She appeared as a judge on RTÉ’s The Voice of Ireland during the 2013–14 season. Dolores O’Riordan began recording new material with JETLAG, a collaboration between Andy Rourke of The Smiths and Ole Koretsky, in April 2014. They then formed a trio under the name D.A.R.K. Their first album, Science Agrees, was released in September 2016.
On 26 May 2016, the band announced that they planned to start a tour in Europe. The first show was held on 3 June.
On the Personal Note:
On 18 July 1994, O’Riordan married Don Burton, the former tour manager of Duran Duran. The couple had three children. In 1998, the couple bought a 61-hectare (150-acre) stud farm, called Riversfield Stud, located in Kilmallock, County Limerick, selling it in 2004. They then moved to Howth, County Dublin, and spent summers in a log cabin in Buckhorn, Ontario, Canada. In 2009, the family moved full-time to Buckhorn.
In August 2013, she returned to live in Ireland. She and Burton split up in 2014 after 20 years together, and subsequently divorced. She was raised as a Roman Catholic. Her mother was a devout Catholic who chose her daughter’s name in reference to the Lady of the Seven Dolours. Dolores admired Pope John Paul II, whom she met twice, in 2001 and 2002. She performed at the invitation of Pope Francis in 2013 at the Vatican’s annual Christmas concert.
In November 2014, O’Riordan was arrested and charged in connection with air rage on an Aer Lingus flight from New York to Shannon. During the flight she grew verbally and physically abusive with the crew. When police were arresting her after landing, she resisted, reminding them her taxes paid their wages and shouting “I’m the Queen of Limerick! I’m an icon!”, headbutting one Garda officer and spitting at another. Later she told the media that she had been stressed from living in New York hotels following the end of her 20-year marriage. The judge hearing her case agreed to dismiss all charges if she apologised in writing to those she injured and contributed €6,000 to the court poor box.
In May 2017, she publicly discussed her bipolar disorder, which she said had been diagnosed two years earlier. That same month, the Cranberries cited her back problems as the reason for cancelling the second part of the group’s European tour. In late 2017, O’Riordan said she was recovering and performed at a private event.
On 15 January 2018, at the age of 46, while in London for a recording session, Dolores O’Riordan died unexpectedly at the London Hilton on Park Lane hotel in Mayfair. The cause of death was accidental drowning in a bathtub, following sedation by alcohol intoxication.