“There are some songs where you remember the moment you came up with the first few bits of it and where you were,” says The Cranberries guitarist Noel Hogan. “’Zombie’ is a perfect example of that.”
Packed inside a tiny, damp rehearsal shed in Limerick, Ireland with no heating, it was just the four of them—Hogan, along with his brother, bassist Mike Hogan, drummer Fergal Lawler, and the band’s late vocalist Dolores O’Riordan—playing one of the biggest songs of their career in the smallest of spaces.
“Each one of us still remember those first few days of being in that room, and the moment Dolores came in and went, ‘I have this song, and I think it should go this way,’” remembers Hogan. Written by O’Riordan following the deaths of two young boys during a 1993 IRA-linked bombing attack in England, the singer was adamant that “Zombie” needed to be heavier and the music had to be angrier, denser, and electric.
“Little did we know that it would become the monster that it did,” says Hogan.
Now, 26 years after their “monster” was released, “Zombie” has surpassed one billion views on YouTube, and part of the legacy of The Cranberries second release, 1994’s No Need to Argue, still resonates today.
“Some days it seems like yesterday and then other times it seems like ‘yea, that was a long time ago,’” says Lawler. “Looking back at that, you’re like ‘Jesus, we were so young,’ but I remember it all that time.”