Ahead of the 25th Anniversary Re-release of their debut album, UL Professor Eoin Devereux spoke about his work with the band and their lasting legacy.
Rewind 25 years. The year is 1993 and Take That topped the charts with ‘Relight My Fire’ and ‘Babe’, while Boyzone made their iconic debut on Irish television, dancing on the Late Late Show.
In the pop-orientated music industry that had emerged, it seemed unlikely that a band from Limerick, with an intrinsically unique sound, would be able to make their alternative-rock music stick.
While their first album Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? was initially met with a lukewarm response in Ireland, the band set their sights on the UK and Europe, as Professor Eoin Devereux, Head of Sociology in the University of Limerick explains:
“It is to The Cranberries credit that they went and worked really hard abroad. The story of Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? is one of persistence, of really hard work, of a very slow burn. The album was released in March 1993 and sold only a reasonable amount of copies.”
“While they were supporting the Hothouse Flowers in Europe, they were asked to get to the USA as soon as possible as something magical had happened. ‘Linger’ had become a major hit on college radio which led to a renewed focus on their debut album,” Eoin says.
To celebrate 25 years since its original release, The Cranberries will re-release their debut album, this time including radio broadcasts, concert recordings, demos and a special essay by Devereux about the band’s beginnings.
“I have long been an admirer of the band. I saw them play in Limerick in their early days and witnessed them going on to phenomenal global success.
“I was honoured to be asked to write an account of their early days as both The Cranberry Saw Us and The Cranberries…On a personal level, it brought so many memories back. I played their first album non-stop,” he recalls.
Despite the passage of time, The Cranberries remain and integral part of Irish music. Their sound was like nothing we had ever heard before, but yet felt comfortingly familiar.
“The Cranberries succeeded in creating a distinct sound that is instantly recognisable. You know within a few seconds that it is The Cranberries.
“It’s a fusion of many things, Dolores’ singing style which combined Irish and Church, and Noel Hogan’s guitar style, which is distinctly his, but has echoes of guitar greats like Johnny Marr.”
Much of today’s music has a very short shelf life- what you hear playing non-stop on the radio today, you’ll struggle to remember in a few months, but The Cranberries music continues to stand the test of time. After over two decades, songs from their first album still resonate with people around the world, showing the mastery of their craft.
“These songs continue to be relevant because they speak to audiences all over the world. ‘Dreams’ and ‘Linger’ are examples of the power of music to appeal to people on happy and on sad occasions,” says Eoin.
“They have long assumed the status of classics for this very reason. Both are perfect songs in that they manage to capture feelings of loss associated with having your heart broken.
“The album’s re-release means that a whole new generation can not only (re)discover the band, but they can also hear versions of songs that have never been heard before.”
The loss of Dolores O’Riordan was one which was felt so deeply, making the re-release of the album bittersweet- yet the opportunity to appreciate her hypnotic vocals and read original interviews conducted by Eoin with the band will be welcomed by fans all around the world- for as long as the music of The Cranberries continues to be heard, Dolores will live on.
The Cranberries’ ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’ 25th Anniversary Edition Album will be launched on Thursday, October 18.