Whatever happened to…

I don’t know many songs with as much pure sonic drama as the Cranberries’ “Zombie”, yet when I saw last weekend that Dolores O’Riordan had passed away, I’ll have to admit, I didn’t recognize the name.

Of course she was the lead singer of the Cranberries, and of course I thought gee, whatever happened to them?


We do that. We lose track of entertainers who provide us with something for a while and who, when we lose interest, we are willing to relegate to the scrap heap of whatever-happened-to? My increasingly unwieldy Spotify playlist contained only one song by the Cranberries—”Zombie.” I’d been playing it often this past year—a song of protest, the type we could use as a rallying point in our country today.

Dolores Mary O’Riordan was only 46 when she died, and her career had been sullied by the “air rage incident,” waylaid by bipolar disorder, and ultimately undermined by unrelenting and excruciating back pain. Unabashedly Irish and unconcerned about her heavy accent, she performed as well as she could for as long as she could. Twenty-eight years after the Cranberries were formed, Ms. O’Riordan was dead, found on the floor of a hotel bathroom. I worry about what the cause of death will turn out to be and what price her family will pay for it. I hope results are kind to her memory.

Of course most of us let her go a long time ago: all those songs on my playlist and only one from her or her group. Now there are more: “Linger,” and “Ode to my Family,” and “Dreams” of course.

And as we often do when some entertainer is taken from us these days, I listened to a few more. Some solo performances like “Ordinary Day,” some others like “Just My Imagination.” Good stuff that I missed while I was wondering whatever happened to the Cranberries? Go back and listen—she could really sing.


Her voice was her gift—one which we accepted only when it suited us.




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