This one is personal.
When news came down this morning of the sudden death of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan, my mouth went on autopilot to break the news to our KTSA listeners.
My mind went back…and back.
The song, “Linger”, which came out in 1993 was their biggest U.S. hit. Holy bleep, that’s 25 years ago. It was one of the last songs I played while I was still, barely, playing songs on the show. A pretty, hypnotic anthem. Lush, lovely Irish-tinged vocals.
Flash to 1997: I was going through the shock of a abruptly broken engagement, which was at the time the most heart-wrenching thing I’d ever experienced. You know the routine: never saw it coming.
They say you do things that surprise yourself when you’re mourning.
For me, it started with a long weekend in Austin where I checked into a hotel (that cylindrical Holiday Inn on Town Lake) and told no one where I was for a few days. Not like me. To drown out the silence, I was blasting Collective Soul, Oasis, Better Than Ezra, Soul Asylum and some other angry, cynical bands in my earphones.
This was way different.
Somehow, I rediscovered Dolores’ lilting “Linger”, which was like nothing else on my personal playlist at the moment.
“Were you lying all the time? Was it just a game to you?
“But I’m in so deep. You know I’m such a fool for you.
“You got me wrapped around your finger ah ah ha.
“Do you have to let it linger? Do you have to, do you have to…
“Do you have to let it linger?”
I know...pity party. But it was my first one and I went all out. I wasn’t even mad at the girl, because I thought so much of her and so little of me.
Dolores O’Riordan’s voice was soothing, not seething. Sentimental. Straight. Finally, I understood why people called radio stations and requested songs when they were in love, or in loss. I had been on the receiving end of so many of those calls before. Now, I saw it from the other end of the phone line and wouldn’t ever forget it.
“Oh, I thought the world of you.
“I thought nothing could go wrong
“But I was wrong. I was wrong.”
I’ve never talked much about this, and not on the air. I brooded, sulked and then made like a big boy again. Everyone involved made out just fine, eventually.
But I’ve always loved Dolores O’Riordan just a little bit more for singing a song that spoke to me when I wasn’t speaking to anyone.
How I wish we could bring the beauty and peace to her that she brought to us.