1989-1991

1989:  

Ø      Most of the people think that The Cranberries’ story begins from 1992 when they released their first album, but this isn’t so! In 1989 the brothers Mike  and Noel Hogan from Limerick, Ireland, who believe in music and creativity and try to find a way to express it. In Parteen, a place near Limerick, there is also a boy who shares their love for music, his name is Fergal Lawler. Fergal is good in playing drums, Mike is into bass, whereas, Noel plays the guitar...the only thing needed to create a band is a lead singer! The name Niall Quinn, a neighbor of Noel and Mike, plays an essential role for the cranberries history for is the man who opened with his band The Hitchers the show at The Granary Nightclub in late August. "Over the course of a pint they told me they were putting a band together, were actively looking for a singer and I guess I volunteered to give it a go. A couple of weeks later while on the way home from school a little white car screeched to halt across the road from me and out bundled the three boys to see if I was still interested," Niall writes in a online narrative, posted in January 2002, of the early days of THE CRANBERRY SAW US, titled "Another Story". He notes, "We decided on the name that day [in September] - and contrary to what I've read elsewhere I came up with it. Actually what I came up with was the name 'The Cranberries' and then suggested several variations on it. These included 'THE CRANBERRY SAW US', 'The Cranberry Doodles' 'The Crandoodles' and several more I can't remember. Without actually voting on it we discussed them and eventually settled on 'THE CRANBERRY SAW US'. I remember favoring it over 'The Cranberries' - which I reckoned sounded like a band a girl would be singing with - like 'The Darling Buds' or 'The Sugar Cubes'. Maybe that's why long after my departure they shortened it back to its source name - because it fitted perfectly a band fronted by a female."

Ø      September 18th: the virginal gig for THE CRANBERRY SAW US at a cafeteria in Limerick called “Flag Cafe”, a cafeteria popular to the nearby art college students. One of the songs that the band performs is called “My Granny Drowned in a Fountain”.

Ø      Niall is concerned about his future and the future of the yet unknown band. Mike, Noel and Fergal insist on recording a demo to send it to Xeric Studios and finally manage to breakthrough as a band!

 

1990:

Ø      January 7th: The new year finds the band accepted by Xeric Studios, and record a demo called “Anything”, a rather ironic title, because the band actually do not manage anything special. On the demo the title of the band is hand-written by Noel, who misspelled the word “Cranberry” and actually writes “Cranbery”.

Ø      Niall thinks that his first band The Hitchers in which he is actually a drummer, is the first priority for him, so he decides to leave the band! One day, Niall accidentally meets his ex-girlfriend called Kathryn, who asked him about THE CRANBERRY SAW US and how things are going with the band. Niall tells her that he left and they need a singer to complete the band. Kathryn’s mind goes straight away to a choir girl in her older sister’s class, a girl called Dolores, whose voice reminds of Sinead O’ Connor. Kathryn gives him Dolores’ phone number, he phones her on a Sunday afternoon and fortunately Dolores is interested in giving it a try with this new and totally unknown band!  

Ø      It is spring and Dolores arranges with the guys to meet at Xeric Studios for audition...and that’s it! “OK boys, show us your stuff”- that was how Dolores O' Riordan introduced herself to the Cranberries. She starts singing a Sinead O’ Connor song and the guys, together with Niall, understand immediately the value of her voice!

Ø      "The songs were not to my taste, but I saw the potential in the playing. It was easy for me because no matter what their first impressions were, the minute I opened my mouth I knew that they were going to be impressed." –Dolores

Ø      The first song the band ever created is “Linger” and then “Sunday”. The band meets three times a week for rehearsals and after some time they feel they are ready to make a gig as a band!

Ø      It’s June and the band makes its debut at the basement of the Ruby’s Hotel-Club, supporting the local group “They Do It With Mirrors”. The band performed in front of over 60 people, but they don’t actually seem to enjoy it due to anxiety and total embarrassement. The band failed to contact the audience in any way, and the situation peaked when Fergal fell off of his stool at his drum set.

Ø      "I hated people looking at my body. I never wore anything above the knee.. I'd seen myself as a lad so long I couldn't see the point." –Dolores

Ø      Dolores and Noel write and title the songs, so they try to be understanding and let Mike title a new song they have written. Mike gives the song the totally uninspired title “Hot Dog Neddy”, a title that has nothing to do with the “spirit” of the song. Thus, the band decides Dolores and Noel to write and title the songs.

Ø      The band starts acquiring local acceptance and popularity and release the demo called “Watercircle”, which included the songs “Sunday”, “Linger”, “Chrome Paint” and “A Fast One”. Their popularity increases and the band finally signs to Xeric Records!

Ø      The band becomes even more successful in Limerick, so Pearse Gilmore from the record company, becomes their manager.

Ø      The first release on Xeric Records is a demo called “Nothing Left At All”, including the tracks “Nothing Left At All”, “Pathetic Senses” and “Shine Down”. The demo sold 300 copies in Limerick...

 

1991:

Ø      The band decides to shorten the name and replace the name with “The Cranberry’s”, a name which later changes into “The Cranberries”!

Ø      The demo of “Nothing Left At All” is re-released as a promo to several record companies around the world, and with a better quality. The demo included “Put Me Down”, “Dreams”, “Nothing Left At All” and “Linger”...two of the songs (“Dreams” and “Linger”) later become big hits and establish “The Cranberries” as a big band!   

Ø      The Magazine “Melody Maker” about the demo: "the most exciting demo tape of 1991... No band since The Smiths have sounded so spectacularly unverable. The Cranberries are surely skybound (and) are going to be a big part of your pop life for the next eternity."

Ø      June: The first UK tour with Moose.

Ø      Big and universal record companies are interested for this new group from Limerick and finally in July the band signed with Island Records for 6 albums.

Ø      August: The second UK tour headlining the show at The Underworld in London. The band filmed their first video for the coming EP “Uncertain”. The band also supported the band House of Love at the Royal Albert Hall.  Some tracks that were recorded during that period, are:

“Take My Soul Away”

“Like You Used To”

False”

“The Sun Does Rise”

Ø      October: just before their contract with Xeric is to be expired, the “Uncertain” EP is released, but instead of increasing the band’s status, the result is disappointing and the reviews mediocre. The EP included the following tracks:

“Uncertain”

“Nothing Left At All”

“Pathetic Senses”

“Them”

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