- 07 Feb 18
The news that Dolores O'Riordan has died in London triggered an avalanche of tributes from fans, friends and fellow musicians who spoke of both her extraordinary talent and charisma. Hot Press was there in 1990 when she joined The Cranberry Saw Us, and hooked up with Dolores regularly afterwards as the band went from fresh-faced indie hopefuls to stadium headliners whose songs have seeped deep into the rock ‘n’ roll consciousness. STUART CLARK recalls the highs, lows and renaissance of a remarkable career...
I could lie and say it was another Thin Lizzy in Slattery’s, Boomtown Rats in Moran’s or U2 in The Dandelion Market Damascus-style moment. But the truth is that there was nothing about our first sighting of Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberry Saw Us, in the basement of Limerick’s Cruises Hotel, which screamed “future Irish stadium-fillers!”
Second on the bill in the 200-capacity venue to They Do It With Mirrors – who’d caused a stir locally by joining The Divine Comedy and The Frank & Walters on the Setanta Records roster – it was only their second or third gig since original singer Niall Quinn had quit and been replaced by Dolores. She spent the night looking at the floor, the ceiling, her feet – anything other than the crowd. She was clearly petrified. Add in the fact that she was wearing an Aran jumper and didn’t conform to the waifish indie girl norm and I had no reason to think that within three years they’d be selling seven million copies of their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?.
I do remember thinking, however, that she had a really interesting voice. That was what also attracted the interest of Pearse Gilmore, a former rock ‘n’ roll frontman himself, who’d not long previously set up Xeric Studios in the old Shannon Foundry, on Edward Street.