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"Zombie" is a protest song by Irish rock band The Cranberries, written about the 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington, and in memory of two young victims, Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry.[1] It was released in September 1994 as the lead single from their second studio album, No Need to Argue (1994). It preceded the release of No Need to Argue by two weeks. The song was written by the band's lead singer Dolores O'Riordan, and reached No. 1 on the charts in Australia, Belgium, France, Denmark and Germany.

"Zombie"
The Cranberries - Zombie.jpg
Standard artwork (CD and vinyl edition pictured)
Single by The Cranberries
from the album No Need to Argue
Released19 September 1994
Format
Recorded1993 at Windmill Lane Studios
Genre
Length
  • 5:06 (LP version)
  • 4:11 (international edit)
  • 3.52 (U.S. radio edit)
LabelIsland
Songwriter(s)Dolores O'Riordan
Producer(s)Stephen Street
The Cranberries singles chronology
"Linger"
(1993)
"Zombie"
(1994)
"Ode to My Family"
(1994)
Music video
"Zombie" on YouTube
Audio sample
Zombie

It won the "Best Song" award at the 1995 MTV Europe Music Awards.[2]

In 2017, the song was released as an acoustic, stripped down version on the band's Something Else album.[3]

Contents

CompositionEdit

The lyrics and chords of "Zombie" were written by Dolores O'Riordan during the Cranberries' English Tour in 1993. The song was written in response to the death of Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry, who had been killed in the IRA bombing in Warrington earlier that year.[4]

The lyrics also reference the Irish Easter Rising with the lines: It’s the same old theme / Since nineteen-sixteen / In your head, in your head, they're still fightin' / With their tanks, and their bombs / And their bombs, and their guns / In your head, in your head, they are dying.

ReceptionEdit

The Rough Guide to Rock identified the album No Need to Argue as "more of the same" as the Cranberries' debut album, except for the song "Zombie", which had an "angry grunge" sound and "aggressive" lyrics.[5] The Cranberries played the song on their appearance on the U.S. show Saturday Night Live in 1995 in a performance that British author Dave Thompson calls "one of the most powerful performances that the show has ever seen".[6]

AllMusic said the song "trivialized" the events of the Troubles, and that the "heavy rock trudge" of the song did not play to the band's strengths.[7]

Music videoEdit

"Zombie" was released with a music video in October 1994. The video was directed by Samuel Bayer, and produced by Doug Friedman and H.S.I. Productions.

In the video, Dolores O'Riordan is covered in gold makeup and appears in front of a cross with a group of boys also covered in gold makeup. The video also includes clips of children playing war games, and of British soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (as evident from their thin red line tactical recognition flashes) on patrol in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. It also shows shots of various murals.

The video was filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

As of November 2018, the video has over 810 million views on YouTube.

Track listingsEdit

UK and European CD1 single

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Zombie" (Album version)Dolores O'Riordan5:06
2."Away" (Previously unreleased; later included on the soundtrack of the 1995 film Clueless)Dolores O'Riordan2:39
3."I Don't Need" (Previously unreleased)
3:31

UK and European CD2 single

No.TitleLength
1."Zombie" (Album version)5:06
2."Waltzing Back" (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 11 June 1994)3:45
3."Linger" (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 11 June 1994)5:25

UK and European 7" single

No.TitleLength
1."Zombie" (Radio edit)4:10
2."Away" (Previously unreleased)2:39

US two-track promo CD (PRCD 6857-2)

No.TitleLength
1."Zombie" (Edit)3:52
2."Zombie"5:06

UK VHS single (PRCD 6857-2)

No.TitleLength
1."Zombie" (Video version)5:11

Charts and salesEdit

Bad Wolves versionEdit

"Zombie"
 
Single by Bad Wolves
from the album Disobey
ReleasedJanuary 18, 2018 (2018-01-18)
Genre
Length4:15
LabelEleven Seven
Songwriter(s)Dolores O'Riordan
Bad Wolves singles chronology
"Toast to the Ghost"
(2017)
"Zombie"
(2018)
"Better the Devil"
(2018)

Bad Wolves released a cover version on January 19, 2018 as the third single from their debut album Disobey.[55][56] O'Riordan had been scheduled to record vocals with the heavy metal group at the time of her death. The cover was released without her vocals as a tribute. Bad Wolves slightly altered the lyrics, inserting a reference to drones and replacing "since 1916" with "in 2018".[56] Bad Wolves also added two extra stanzas to the end of the song which were not present in the original song. The band's cover topped the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in May 2018 for three weeks. It peaked at number 54 on the Hot 100.[57] In June 2018, at a concert in New York City, Bad Wolves donated $250,000 to O'Riordan's children.[58]

In an interview, Kyle Konkiel shared his thoughts on the new cover's sound: [59]

[Our version] is kind of a darker more melodic feel than the original, which had a lot of heavy guitars and that legendary bassline and more focus on the actual instruments than the lyrics themselves

— Kyle Konkiel

Music videoEdit

The song's music video was directed by Wayne Isham and was released on January 18, 2018, the day before the band released the song as a single.[60]

The video begins with text discussing the cover's background and the passing of O'Riordan. The video then cuts to shots of the band performing the song in a black room, wearing black clothing and playing black instruments interspersed with close-up scenes of a woman being covered in gold paint. The video then cuts in between shots of the band performing and the woman interacting with vocalist Tommy Vext which mainly involve her smearing gold paint on a glass pane between the two of them. After the guitar solo, she etches "1-15-18", the date of O'Riordan's death, into the paint. The woman's appearance (gold body paint, gold dress, and gold beaded headdress) is nearly identical to that of O'Riordan in The Cranberries' original Zombie music video. The video ends with a quote by Vext.

Track listingEdit

No.TitleLength
1."Zombie"4:15

Charts and salesEdit

Other cover versionsEdit

  • In late 1994, a cover version by Spanish mákina group Ororo was released in conjunction with the original version. This version reached No. 1 in Spain and No. 16 in Austria.[73]
  • In 1995, a Eurodance cover version by Italian quartet A.D.A.M. featuring Amy reached No. 16 in the UK Singles Chart,[74] No. 65 in Australia,[75] No. 20 in France, No. 9 in Italy, and No. 35 in Belgium.[76]
  • In 2011, Christina Parie covered the song on The X Factor Australia. After her performance, the song re-entered the ARIA Charts Top 100 at No. 69.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Dendle, Peter (2012). 2000-2010. McFarland. pp. 30–. ISBN 9780786492886. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
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  5. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003-11-01). The Rough Guide to Rock: the definitive guide to more than 1200 artists and bands. Rough Guides. pp. 248–. ISBN 9781843531050. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  6. ^ Thompson, Dave (2000-11-01). Alternative Rock: The Best Musicians and Recordings. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 294–. ISBN 9780879306076. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  7. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2002). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 263–. ISBN 9780879306533. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
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  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Cranberries – Zombie" (in French). Ultratop 50.
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BibliographyEdit

  • Fonseca A. J. «Zombie» (song) // Encyclopedia of the Zombie: The Walking Dead in Popular Culture and Myth: The Walking Dead in Popular Culture and Myth / eds. J. Pulliam, A. J. Fonseca. — ABC-CLIO, 2014. — 381 p. — ISBN 9781440803895. — ISBN 1440803897.