Cranberries ‘Zombie’ Video Makes History

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The Cranberries released their debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? on March 1, 1993, and thanks to the success of their earlier single, “Dreams,” and a new song, “Linger,” both of which were included on the LP, the album reached #1 on the U.K. sales chart. Since its release, the album has gone platinum in numerous countries, including 5+ million in sales in the U.S.

Their second album, No Need to Argue, arrived in October 1994 and made the band global superstars. It’s sold an astounding 17 million copies worldwide. The album had numerous international hits, none bigger than “Zombie.”

The official video for the song has just passed 1 billion views on YouTube, breaking records as the first Irish band to hit this milestone. The Cranberries now join a small club of iconic artists to reach this landmark and the video is the fifth most-viewed rock video of all time globally according to Loudersound.

Written by the group’s lead vocalist Dolores O’Riordan as a protest song after IRA bombings in Warrington killed two children and injured 56 others in March 1993, “Zombie” was recorded in Dublin and was produced by longtime Cranberries collaborator Stephen Street. Containing the lyrics “But you see, it’s not me. It’s not my family,” the band were adamant “Zombie” should be the lead single from their new album and resisted the suggestion to go with a less political track, such was their commitment to the song.

The video directed by Samuel Bayer – who now notches his second billion viewed clip following Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – shows original footage of Northern Irish street scenes with children playing war games during The Troubles, including the now famous political and historical murals. In the video a gilded O’Riordan stands before a giant cross wearing a crown of thorns surrounded by silver cherubs, with cutaway shots of the band performing live outdoors.

Fergal Lawler, the Cranberries drummer, said of the achievement, “We are so delighted with the news. We are sure Dolores has a big, proud smile on her face, too.”

Guitarist Noel Hogan said, “Little did we think twenty something years ago that this song would stand the test of time and mean so much to so many.”

Their bassist Mike Hogan added, “I can still remember making such a great video and seeing the impact that it had – and still does – on people.”

Their most commercially successful single, “Zombie” went on to top the singles charts in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland and was #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in the U.S. In 1995 it was awarded ‘Best Song’ at the MTV Europe Music Awards. On Jan. 16 2018, Colin Parry – father of Tim Parry, the 12-year-old victim of the Warrington bomb – thanked O’Riordan for the “majestic and (also) very real lyrics” in the track.

In April 2019, the Cranberries released their eighth and final album, In the End, the vocals for which had been recorded by O’Riordan prior to her tragic passing in 2018. In the End reached Top 10 in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, France, and Italy. It was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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