The Cranberrys formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1990 by Noel and Mike Hogan. This band was originally called, "The Cranberry Saw Us" and featured singer Niall Quinn. When Quinn left the band, however, Dolores O'Riordan replaced him and almost immediately matched lyrics to a melody the band was working on. That melody would soon become, "Linger," one of the band's biggest hits. After successfully selling out their demo tape, the band changed their names to The Cranberries and began sending their demos to major labels in the UK. Upon signing with Island Records, the band recorded its first single, "Uncertain," which received poor reviews and resulted the band postponing recording their debut album. Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We was released in 1993 to virtually no attention, even with the release of "Linger" and "Dreams." It wasn't until the band came stateside, touring with The The and Suede, that they began to gain some attention and earned "Linger" heavy rotation on MTV, leading the album to eventually land at number one on the charts in England. Their follow-up album, 1994's No Need To Argue, debuted at number six on the US charts and showcased a harder sound with singles "Zombie" and "Ode to My Family." As the band's popularity grew, they moved back into the studio to record a third album, To the Faithful Departed, which would prove to be even grittier than anything they'd done before. Throughout the mid-'90s, rumors spread that O'Riordan was leaving the band to pursue an solo career and each time the band squashed them with the release of a new album. This was no different in 1999, when the Cranberries rose to number one with their song "Promises (Song)" and the album Bury the Hatchet. With the Cranberries currently on hiatus, O'Riordan is finally preparing to put out a solo album to be released in late 2006.
With tough, gritty backgrounds, the unique character of Dolores O'Riordan's voice, with its clear, powerful and sullen sound, is what sets The Cranberries apart from all other bands that appeared in the mid-'90s. Enchanting and dream-like are the best words to describe The Cranberries sound, which puts them somewhere between Collective Soul and The Smiths (the band's debut album was even produced by Smiths' producer Stephen Street). When they debuted in 1993, their contemporaries that year were Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead. While all three bands have gone on to remarkable success, The Cranberries' sound was the most accessible of the three, providing a fresh pop sound that matured with each release the band put out, including the harder-edged, though not as successful To the Faithful Departed.