The Cranberries to Release 25th Anniversary Boxset

Last year, the 4 members of The Cranberries – Dolores O’Riordan, Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawler – came together to plan a 25th Anniversary Box Set release of their debut album, and one of the definitive indie albums of all time, ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’ Following her untimely death in January this year, the remaining band members have decided to go ahead with the 25th Anniversary Box Set, which is released on 19th October on UMG. Originally released on 12th March 1993, the album hit the No.1 spot in both the UK and Ireland and sold over 6 million copies worldwide. At the time Dolores remarked that the universal appeal of the Cranberries’ songs was based on her: “Own life and experiences as a human being, how human beings treat each other.”

Rewind to the summer of 1985, when a lifelong friendship was blossoming between three boys – Fergal (14), Noel (13) and his younger brother Mike (12) – over a shared interest in breakdancing. Fergal would travel the short distance from Parteen, County Clare to Moyross, Limerick where Noel and Mike lived so they could practice their dance moves. Their enthusiasm for the dance movement gradually faded and after a while they began to listen to mainstream electro-pop artists like Nik Kershaw and Michael Jackson, and like many other teenagers before them, began to pay more attention to what was being played on the radio.

Noel recalls that it was hearing the Cure’s ‘Staring At The Sea’ singles compilation that changed everything in his musical world. He shared his new found passion for the Cure with Mike and Fergal and this led them to discover other bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Clash, New Order and Joy Division. Looking back on this musical journey, Noel stresses that: “All these roads led to The Smiths, who became very big in our lives later on.”

As well as becoming more conscious of the wider world of indie, Noel, Mike and Fergal were also becoming more aware of a growing Irish and Limerick music scene. A friend of Fergals was a DJ on one of the city’s pirate radio stations and began to lend him recordings of Irish and local bands. Free from the rules and regulations of state controlled broadcasting, pirate radio stations in 1980s Ireland allowed for never-heard-of indie bands to be played on air. Aside from the global success of U2 and Sinead O’Connor, the group’s ears were also opened to the existence of local bands such as Private World, They Do It With Mirrors, Up The Downstairs, the Hitchers and A Touch of Oliver. This presented the possibility of actually playing music in a band. In doing so, they would be following in the footsteps of many other hopeful would-be musicians in post industrial cities such as Manchester, Liverpool or Birmingham, where in a world of spiralling youth unemployment, playing music and being creative promised infinite possibilities.

In August 1989 the fledgling group met Niall Quinn, who became their singer. They called themselves The Cranberry Saw Us. By March 1990, Niall had decided to leave the band to focus on his other band the Hitchers and his parting was entirely amicable. He played a pivotal role in introducing Dolores to the band and arranged an audition, which took place in Xeric Studios, an old industrial space in the middle of Limerick. Noel, Mike and Fergal were present with some of their friends when Dolores arrived. She carried a Casio keyboard under her arm and in stark contrast to the prevailing goth look (Doc Martens, black clothes, wild hair) which predominated in the small room, she wore a shiny pink tracksuit and had wet-look cropped hair. Dolores recalled their first meeting: “I went upstairs and there were about fourteen adolescent boys in the room. The hormones were just rampant in there, the tension was deadly. I said: ‘Before anything happens can anyone who is not in the band please leave the room’.” Noel describes Dolores as “being as quiet as a mouse” that evening. Mike remembers: “She was introverted back then . . . but she still got up and had the guts to do it.” Everyone in the room was taken by her voice: “We were immediately blown away,” said Mike. “Her voice was something special.” Dolores recalls: “I really liked what I heard: I thought they were nice and tight. It was a lovely potential band but they needed a singer – and direction.” One of the instrumentals played by the Cranberry Saw Us that evening would soon become ‘Linger’, a relatively simple song that within two years would catapult the band to global stardom.

1991 was a crucial year for the Cranberries. On 18th April the band played a hometown gig as part of the University of Limerick’s Rag Week to 1,400 students – and 32 A&R men, most of who had flown in from London. In attendance was legendary record producer, the late Denny Cordell (1943-1995), who was then A&R for Island Records. Cordell didn’t offer the Cranberries the largest amount of money, but instead promised to look after the band and allow them the space to develop at their own pace. He clearly had a strong belief in their potential to succeed. Around this time the band shortened their name to the Cranberries.

In 1992 the Cranberries took on a new manager in the form of the iconic Geoff Travis of Rough Trade and began recording their debut album with producer Stephen Street. Street brought with him a vast production resume as both engineer and producer (the Smiths, Morrissey, Blur) as well as expertise as a songwriter having co-written Morrissey’s first solo album Viva Hate (1988). For the Cranberries to be working with the producer of ‘Strangeways Here We Come’ was a dream come true.

As the band’s wordsmith Dolores was the source of all of the band’s album titles. ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’ stemmed from her dogged determination to succeed. “Elvis wasn’t always Elvis,” she said. “He wasn’t born Elvis Presley, he was a person who was born in a random place, he didn’t particularly have a lot but he became Elvis. And Michael Jackson was born somewhere and he became Michael Jackson and so on and so forth. And I thought we were just born in a random place so why can’t we be that successful as well? And I believed we could but the majority of people were saying, ‘You’re absolutely nuts, you’re not going to make it, you can’t make any money out of it, you should do cover versions!’.” A simple but clever title, it answers its own question by implying why not? Why shouldn’t a band from a small city in the southwest of Ireland get signed, conquer the world and make a great record?

Indeed. By Christmas 1993, the band had toured extensively throughout Europe and the US and their return to Ireland was a triumphant affair. Their debut album had now clocked sales of over 800,000 copies in the United States and ‘Linger’ had reached number 8 in the Billboard Charts. It went on to achieve platinum sales status in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. It became a number one album in Ireland and the UK and peaked at eighteen in the US Billboard Charts.

The continued popularity of ‘Everybody Else…’ and its phenomenal success should not only be judged in terms of its total sales – 6 million copies worldwide, with 5 million sales in the US alone – but in terms of the quality of the repertoire. Although influenced by indie bands such as the Smiths, the Cure and New Order, the distinctive sound of the Cranberries first album is an example of how the best popular music often comes from cross-pollination and hybridization. Just as a young Johnny Marr was influenced by the music of Rory Gallagher and Thin Lizzy, the Cranberries were, in turn, influenced by the sound of the Smiths and made their own from what they heard.

The alchemy of Noel and Dolores as co-songwriters combined with Noel’s shimmering guitar playing, rock solid backing from Mike and Fergal and Stephen Street’s aptitude for space, all contributed to the album’s distinct sound. Dolores’ unique mix of Gaelic, Catholic and indie vocal influences combined with her ability to write lyrics perfectly capturing the frustrations of late adolescence gave these songs universal appeal. Twenty-five years since its release this carefully crafted debut has stood the test of time and can truly is one of the definitive indie albums of all time.

DISC ONE

Original album remastered

  1. I Still Do
  2. Dreams
  3. Sunday
  4. Pretty
  5. Waltzing Back
  6. Not Sorry
  7. Linger
  8. Wanted
  9. Still Can’t…
  10. I Will Always
  11. How
  12. Put Me Down

DISC TWO

Album out-takes

  1. Íosa
  2. What You Were

(Demo)

  1. Linger

(Dave Bascombe mix)

  1. How (Alternate version)

Single b-sides

  1. Liar
  2. What You Were
  3. Reason
  4. How (Radical mix)
  5. Them
  6. Pretty

(Prêt-à-Porter movie remix)

Debut EP

  1. Uncertain
  2. Nothing Left At All
  3. Pathetic Senses
  4. Them

Early demos *

  1. Dreams (Unmixed)
  2. Sunday
  3. Linger
  4. Chrome Paint
  5. Fast One
  6. Shine Down
  7. Dreams (Pop mix)

*recorded as The Cranberry Saw Us

Live at Cork Rock (June 1, 1991)

  1. Put Me Down
  2. Dreams
  3. Uncertain – Live at Féile, Tipperary (July 31, 1994)
  4. Pretty
  5. Wanted
  6. Daffodil Lament
  7. Linger
  8. I Can’t Be With You
  9. How
  10. Ode to My Family
  11. Not Sorry
  12. Waltzing Back
  13. Dreams
  14. Ridiculous Thoughts
  15. Zombie
  16. (They Long to Be) Close to You

DISC FOUR

Dave Fanning, RTÉ radio session, 1991

  1. Dreams
  2. Uncertain
  3. Reason
  4. Put Me Down

John Peel, BBC Radio 1 session, 1992

  1. Waltzing Back
  2. Linger
  3. Wanted
  4. I Will Always

Dave Fanning, RTÉ radio session 1993

  1. The Icicle Melts
  2. Wanted
  3. Like You Used To
  4. False

Pre-Sale Links

All products – https://TheCranberries.lnk.to/EEIDISWCW

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