Today we will be taking a look at the Irish rock band, the Cranberries, protest song by the name of Zombie. The song was written shortly after two young boys, Jonathon Ball and Tim Parry, were killed in a bombing by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Warrington, Cheshire in 1993.
Along with the song being written in protest against the bombings that killed Ball and Parry, the song was reportedly written about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) PTSD is described as ‘the persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of experiences, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.” PTSD is seen mostly commonly in soldiers, though it isn’t limited to soldiers after they’ve come home from war.
Lead singer of the band, Dolores O’Riordan, explained during interviews that the song spoke out about the fighting happening in Ireland that had started in 1916. The war had lost it’s meaning, and was killing innocents that had nothing to do with the fighting. The song was written in hopes of peace among Ireland and England, and that it would hopefully end the violence.
The song’s lyrics talk about what a soldier suffering from PTSD may experience once home, as one of the major symptoms includes sleep deprivation. “In your head/ in your head they are fighting/ with their tanks and their bombs/ and their bombs and their guns/ In your head, in your head, they are crying.”
The band formed in Limerick in 1989, consisting of lead singer, O’Riordan, guitarist, Noel Hogan, bassist, Mike Hogan, and drummer, Hergal Lawler. The band’s sound pulls from a number of different genres of music, including indie pop, Irish folk, pop rock and post-punk. Zombie was the bands lead single from their second studio album, No Need to Argue, in 1994. The song reached number 1 on a number of charts, in countries such as Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to name a few.
A few weeks after the songs release, the IRA called a ceasefire after 25 long years of conflict, which was widely aledged by critics that the IRA did it so another song wouldn’t be released about them.