With one billion views, The Cranberries reflect on the other “Zombie” “first”

The Cranberries are officially members of the billion-views club.

The band’s video for their 1994 hit single “Zombie” has passed one billion views on YouTube, making them the first Irish act to achieve that feat. It’s also only the third rock video from the ’90s to hit one billion views, following “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

But passing one billion views wasn’t the first, well, first The Cranberries experienced thanks to “Zombie.” Drummer Fergal Lawler tells ABC Audio that the track marked an important change in their rehearsal method.  He explains the garage that The Cranberries used to use as a rehearsal space outside their hometown of Limerick, Ireland, was quite small, which provided some sound issues for frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan.

“It was loud and she would always kinda say, ‘Can you try and keep it down? I’m trying to sing and I can’t hear myself."” Lawler recalls.

But when she brought “Zombie” into rehearsal, O’Riordan had a different request.

“This day, she came in and she said, ‘This is an angry song, would you have distortion petals and hit the drums quite hard?"” Lawler says.

“We were kinda going, ‘OK, great!"” the drummer laughs. “It’s the first time she’s ever said that.”

“Zombie” eventually became one of The Cranberries’ signature songs, which Lawler and his band mates could feel as soon as they started playing it live.

“We had played that song live quite a bit before recording it, and we had just received a great reaction from the audience,” Lawler explains. “We said, ‘You know, this is gonna be an important song."” 

The Cranberries released their last album, In the End, last April. It features O’Riordan’s final vocal recordings prior to her death in January 2018.

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