Thursday 13 December 2018

Dolores sales up 1,000pc as fans mourn over haunting melodies

Vulnerable and honest: Dolores O’Riordan recorded new tracks with The Cranberries. Photo: Kip Carrol
Vulnerable and honest: Dolores O’Riordan recorded new tracks with The Cranberries. Photo: Kip Carrol
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Sales of The Cranberries' music has sky-rocketed since the untimely death of Dolores O'Riordan, with four of the late singer's songs and one album topping the music charts this weekend.

As Limerick prepares to mourn her today at a public reposal at St Joseph's Church, the singer's hit records have seen a 1,000pc increase since she was found dead in the Hilton hotel in London last week.

Dreams, Linger, Zombie and the haunting melody When You're Gone are in the top 10 of the chart list plays.

The greatest hits collection Stars: The Best Of 1992-2002 landed at number 16 on the album chart, a higher position than its previous peak of number 20 when it was released in 2002.

Music commentator Dave Fanning believes the reaction to the singer's death is down to nostalgia, curiosity and a collective sense of mourning.

"For a lot of people it was the soundtrack to their youth," he says.

"The Cranberries came along right in the middle of the ripped-jeans grunge scene and the Brit Pop scene.

"Their music was a far more ethereal, 'up in the clouds' sort of experience.

"Dolores was a vulnerable, honest girl and when she sang - a lot of people felt she was speaking to them. So fans said 'feck off newspapers, we don't want to listen to what you are telling us to listen to, we want to hear this'. MTV put them on 'heavy rotation', the timing was perfect, and what followed was 40 million album sales."

Fanning adds: "What you are seeing in the charts is nostalgia and how music can help people mourn.

"It's also the idea that she was only 46 years of age. It's crazy when you think about it."

The record industry is fully aware that premature death sells records.

Last summer, after Chester Bennington, the 41-year-old lead singer of the group Linkin Park, took his own life, there was a 7,000pc surge in the group's music plays, according to Variety magazine.

When rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry died aged 90 last March, his music sales went through the roof, even though he hadn't released a new album in nearly 40 years.

Prince was the top-selling artist of 2016, according to Billboard, outselling every other artist, living or dead, with a total of 7.7 million that year.

While in even more notable moments of music history, John Lennon's musical comeback album never went higher than No 11 in the two months it was in shops before his murder; afterwards the album went on to sell seven million copies in the following six months.

Elvis Presley eclipsed even this. Geoff Mayfield, US Billboard's director of charts, told the Washington Post "if there was Elvis product in your store" following his death "it got picked clean".

Presley catalogue sales reportedly totalled 200 million copies worldwide in the four months after his passing.

Meanwhile, there may be plans to release new music from The Cranberries to fans in the future.

It has come to light that O'Riordan was in London to discuss plans for the band's next album when she died. A spokesperson for the band said that O'Riordan had been working on a new Cranberries album in the months before her death.

A statement read: "It has emerged that while in London she was also due to meet with The Cranberries' record label, BMG, to discuss plans for the release of a new Cranberries' studio album that she had been working on with the band in recent months."

Whether or not that material will now be released remains to be seen.

"You never know how far they were in to mixing the album," explains Fanning.

"That will be up to Mike, Nigel and Fergal."

An inquest into O'Riordan's death opened last Friday but has been adjourned until April 3 while the court awaits test results.

The singer is to be laid to rest in her home town in Limerick on Tuesday. This will follow a funeral service, which will take place in the Church of St Ailbe, Ballybricken.

The church has a limited capacity of only 200 places and attendance is strictly reserved for extended family and close friends. Chief celebrant will be Canon Liam McNamara, a friend of the O'Riordan family.

Today's public reposal at St Joseph's takes place from 12.30pm to 4pm.

Sunday Independent

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