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Influences of The Cranberries and Dolores O’Riordan’s legacy

The Cranberries were an highly relevant mid-nineties alternative rock band from Ireland. Here we review some of their influences:

the cranberries influencias dolores oriordan

Fronted by singer Dolores O’Riordan, The Cranberries were a band started in Limerick, Ireland. Their main influences come from Shoegaze and College Rock, with acts like The Cure, The Smiths and Siouxsie & The Banshees as clear referents. Other artists, as singer Patsy Cline, Duran Duran and Sinead O’Connor have also been asociated with the band.

Dolores O’Riordan’s powerful voice of one of the signature elements of the band. The Cranberries were a crucial influence on female singers that came after them, such as Alanis Morissette, Adele and Florence + The Machine. Also, alternative rock bands from the 2000’s, like Arcade Fire, Foster the People and Wolf Alice, have this Irish band as a previous source of inspiration.

Which were The Cranberries influences?

We will start reviewing the background of influences of The Cranberries, it is mainly eighties rock: The Cranberries had The Smiths as a clear model, according to comments from guitarist Noel Hogan. Johnny Marr’s particular guitar playing style, capable of creating hipnotic rythms and pop melodies was key to the development of The Cranberries music style. On later years, Dolores O’Riordan formed the project D.A.R.K. alongside The Smith’s bass player Andy Rourke.

Another group that had The Cranberries admiration was The Cure. The band fronted by singer/guitarist Robert Smith is certainly an influential act, key to defining the sound of alternative rock and shoegaze. The Cure’s sound often recreates textures with delay and reverb guitars, that define a template for a dark and obscure music styles which can be heard especially on The Cranberries first two albums, Everybody Else is Doing it so Why Can’t We (1993) and No Need to Argue (1994).

According to guitarist Noel Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler, the compilation album from The Cure, Staring At The Sea 1978-1986, was an introduction for them to other popular acts, such as Siouxsie and The Banshees, Echo and The Bunnymen, New Order and Joy Division. These punk elements are present most notably on The Cranberries third album, To The Faithful Departed, with tracks such as Salvation, Forever Yellow Skies and I Just Shot John Lennon.

Dolores O’Riordan also mentions the influence of The Pogues, a folk-punk style Irish-English band. It’s just a matter of hearing If I Should Fall From Grace With God, one of The Pogues most popular releases, to hear the musical link between the two groups. The Pogues were the exact combination of the traditional rock and Dolores O’Riordan’s more traditional influences from Irish chant.

Even though they were antagonists at some point, Dolores O’Riordan was also influenced by Sinéad O’Connor: Her singing style pre-dated the induction of The Cranberries, who at the beginning of their career covered O’Connor’s song Troy. Afterwards, because of press comparisons, the two singers became less than friends. It was reported, prior to O’Riordan’s death, on January 15 2018, that the two had made amends.

We can name as The Cranberries influences singers that Dolores O’Riordan use to hear when she was a child, such as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. She also mentioned she liked singer Patsy Cline, who usually covered Willie Nelson`s Crazy, song that was also played live by The Cranberries.

Other bands that influenced The Cranberries are R.E.M. Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and U2.

Which artists were influenced by The Cranberries?

In 1994 The Cranberries already had two albums released and were one of the new fresh bands on the mainstream of alternative rock. This scenario was the one in which Alanis Morissette released her acclaimed album Jagged Little Pill in 1995. During the recording sessions of those songs, Alanis and producer Glen Ballard listened extensibely to The Cranberries, one of the most popular bands of that era. With powerful guitars and also the ability to create calm tunes, combined with Dolores O’Riordan exceptional singing skills, were one of the context elements that preceded Alanis Morissette’s jump to stardom.

R&B pop singer Adele was one of the first artists to honor Dolores O’Riordan upon hearing the news of her death. Adele especially mentioned the song Linger as one of her favorites because it reminded her on how the band broke into the United States, but also because of the dramatic tale the track is. This “blue” mood is present in many of Adele’s tracks, notably the hits Someone Like You and Set Fire to the Rain.

Another act that paid tribute to Dolores O’Riordan (covering Linger, actually) was Arcade Fire, whose music references The Cranberries in many ocations. Perhaps the most evident influences are on their album Funeral (2004): the orchestral vocal tracks, the folky style musical arrangements and their baroque pop vibe. Songs like Rebellion (Lies), In the Backseat of the Neighborhood series, from the forementioned album, are good examples of this.

One of the most aknowledged pop artists nowadays, Halsey, explained that she used to listen to The Cranberries frequently when she was a child. The unconventional singing style from the Irish singer taught her how to use her own voice.  According to Halsey, Dolores O’Riordan was a “badass woman” in the world of rock n’ roll.

Mark Foster, frontman of Foster The People, credited Dolores O’Riordan as an influence when thiking about lyrics: from The Cranberries songs he learnt how to use her masculine and femenine energy.

Other artists influenced by The Cranberries are alternative metal band Bad Wolves, Sixpence None the Ritcher and Florence + The Machine.

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