Classic Rock Wiki

"Zombie" is a protest song by Irish rock band The Cranberries.[1] It was released in September 14th 1994 as the lead single from their second studio album, No Need to Argue(1994). The song was written by the band's lead singer Dolores O'Riordan, and reached No. 1 on the charts in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany. As of January 2015, it has been viewed over 200 million times on YouTube.

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



  • 1 Production
  • 2 Reception
  • 3 Track listings
  • 4 Music video
  • 5 Cover versions
  • 6 Appearances in other media
  • 7 Charts and sales
    • 7.1 Peak positions
    • 7.2 Year-end charts
    • 7.3 Certifications
    • 7.4 Chart successions
  • 8 References


It was written during the Cranberries' English Tour in 1993, in memory of two boys, Jonathan Ball and Tim Parry, who were killed in an IRA bombing in Warrington.


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.[3] 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".[4]

Greil Marcus wrote that Zombie created a "displacement" by reference to the 1916 Easter Rising, and that it was "bizarre" for a song of the pop genre to refer to events before the lifetime of the target audience.[5] Allmusic said the song "trivialized" the events of the bombing, and that the "heavy rock" of the song did not play to the band's strengths.[6]

Track listings[edit][]

UK and European CD1 Single[7]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Zombie" (Album version) Dolores O'Riordan 5:06
2. "Away" (Previously unreleased; later included on the soundtrack of the 1995 film Clueless) Dolores O'Riordan 2:39
3. "I Don't Need" (Previously unreleased) Dolores O'Riordan and Noel Hogan 3:31
UK and European CD2 Single[8]
No. Title Length
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[9]
No. Title Length
1. "Zombie" (Radio edit) 4:10
2. "Away" (Previously unreleased) 2:39
US 2-Track Promo CD (PRCD 6857-2)[10]
No. Title Length
1. "Zombie" (Edit) 3:52
2. "Zombie"   5:06
UK VHS Single (PRCD 6857-2)[11]
No. Title Length
1. "Zombie" (Video version) 5:11

Music video[edit][]

"Zombie" was released with a music video in October 1994. The video has been 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. The video also includes clips of children playing, 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.

The unsuspecting troops were told that their footage was to be included in a documentary about the day-to-day operations of various peace-keeping forces. The video was filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Cover versions[edit][]

  • In late 1994, a cover version by Spanish mákina group Ororo was released in conjunction with the original version. This version reached number-one in Spain and number 16 in Austria.[12]
  • In 1995, a Eurodance cover version by Italian quartet A.D.A.M. featuring Amy reached No. 16 in the UK singles chart,[13] No. 20 in France and No. 35 in Belgium.[14]
  • In 2005, the winner of the Super Girl singing contest in China performed the song in the final contest.[15]
  • In 2006, Miser covered the song on their album "Colors".
  • In 2009, Jay Brannan included a cover of the song on his album of covers In Living Cover.[16]
  • In 2009, the Gibraltarian group Breed 77 covered the song on their album Insects.
  • In 2009, Skott Freedman released a slow, haunting cover of "Zombie" recorded on an old church organ.[17]
  • In 2011, Mohombi interpolated the chorus of the song for his single "In Your Head" which is included on his UK edition album MoveMeant.
  • In 2011, Christina Parie covered the song on X Factor Australia, after her performance the song re-entered the ARIA Charts Top 100 at No. 69

Appearances in other media[edit][]

The Cranberries used the song as the background for the main menu on their multi-media CD-ROM.[18]

The 1997 Australian film Blackrock features the song "Zombie" as well as "No Need To Argue", another song by The Cranberries.[19] The 2008 film Battle of the Bone has a scene in which a woman is playing "Zombie" on the piano and is devoured by zombies.[1]

Andy Bernard sings a segment from the song "Zombie" in The Office episode The Return.

UFC fighter Chan Sung Jung, also known as "The Korean Zombie," enters the cage to "Zombie"

On their 2011 album Knife Man, folk punk band Andrew Jackson Jihad titled a track "Zombie By The Cranberries by Andrew Jackson Jihad". However, this is an ironic title of an original song, and not a cover of "Zombie".

In 2014, The Voice contestant Clarissa Serna sang "Zombie" as her audition.

Charts and sales[edit][]

Peak positions[edit][]

Chart (1994–95) Peak


Australia (ARIA)[20] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[21] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[22] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[23] 1
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[24] 19
Denmark (IFPI)[25] 1
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[26] 2
France (SNEP)[27] 1
Germany (Media Control Charts)[28] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[29] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[30] 2
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[31] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[32] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[33] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[34] 2
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[35] 14
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 22
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[36] 32
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks[36] 1
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream[36] 18

Year-end charts[edit][]

Chart (1995) Position Australian Singles Chart[37] 7
Austrian Singles Chart[38] 7
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[39] 36
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[40] 2
Dutch Top 40[41] 41
French Singles Chart[42] 2
Swiss Singles Chart[43] 7


Region Certification Australia (ARIA)[44] Platinum
Austria (IFPI Austria)[45] Gold
Germany (BVMI)[46] Platinum
Italy (FIMI)[47] Gold

Chart successions[edit][]

Preceded by

"What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" by R.E.M.

Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single

29 October 1994 – 3 December 1994 (6 weeks)

Succeeded by

"About a Girl (live)" by Nirvana

Preceded by

"All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow

Australian number-one single

18 December 1994 – 5 February 1995 (8 weeks)

Succeeded by

"Another Night" by MC Sar & The Real McCoy

Preceded by

"Tears Don't Lie" by Mark 'Oh

German number-one single

3 February 1995 (1 week)

Succeeded by

"Conquest of Paradise" by Vangelis

Preceded by

"Short Dick Man" by 20 Fingers featuring Gillette

French SNEP number-one single

4 March 1995 – 29 April 1995 (9 weeks)

Succeeded by

"Pour que tu m'aimes encore" by Céline Dion

Preceded by


Belgian (Wallonia) number-one single

8 April 1995 – 22 April 1995 (3 weeks)

Succeeded by

"Respect" by Alliance Ethnik

Preceded by

"Asshole" by Denis Leary

Triple J Hottest 100 Winner


Succeeded by

"Wonderwall" by Oasis