The 1994 political protest song “Zombie,” written and performed by the late Dolores O’Riordan for the Cranberries, has amassed more than one billion views on YouTube. “Zombie” is the sixth video from the 20th century and the third from the 1990s to surpass one billion views on YouTube. The other songs are “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Take On Me” by A-ha, “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (1987) by Guns N’ Roses (1975). (1975).
The Cranberries are the first Irish performer or musical ensemble to surpass 1 billion YouTube views. “Zombie” has had an average of 178,000 YouTube views per day thus far in 2020. The band has been encouraging followers to watch “Zombie” on YouTube until it reaches one billion views, which it finally did on April 18 after months of work.
After IRA bombs in Warrington, northwest England, in March 1993 left two children dead and 56 others injured, O’Riordan composed the song as a protest song. Her trademark yodel-like vocals are used on “Zombie,” which was produced by Stephen Street, a longstanding associate of the Cranberries (The Smiths, Blur).
The single “Zombie” from the group’s second album, “No Need to Argue,” was made available in September 1994. This music was created in Dublin’s Windmill Lane Studios.
Samuel Bayer, who earlier filmed “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, directed the music video for “Zombie.” Rare footage of Belfast’s Northern Ireland streets during The Troubles, including children playing war games and now-famous political and historical murals, was taken by Bayer. In the music video, a gold-gilded O’Riordan stands before a large cross surrounded by silver cherubs while donning a crown of thorns, and there are glimpses of the band playing outside.
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The music video was initially prohibited by the BBC when it first appeared in the fall of 1994 because it contained violent scenes, including brief views of children carrying firearms. The official “Zombie” video, which was created in the pre-HD 4:3 aspect ratio, was released on YouTube in June 2009.
Following O’Riordan’s passing in January 2018, the remaining Cranberries members—drummer Fergal Lawler, guitarist Noel Hogan, and bassist Mike Hogan—decided to part ways. She was supposed to work on a cover of “Zombie” with the hard rock supergroup Bad Wolves when she passed away. Over 300 million people have viewed the band’s “Zombie” music video on YouTube.