Noel and Mike Hogan, two brothers from Limerick, Ireland formed the band was Fergal Lawler in 1990. Dolores O'Riordan auditioned for the role of singer, writing a song called "Linger" based around the band's existing demo. Their homemade demo tape sold well locally, and the band soon recorded a demo tape that earned much popular and critical interest. After a major-label bidding war, The Cranberries signed to Island Records to record "Uncertain". Their debut single was not successful. After ditching their manager, the Cranberries recorded Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We. The second single, "Linger", became a huge hit in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
In 1994, O'Riordan married Don Burton, the band's tour manager. O'Riordan's status as frontwoman was causing tensions within the group as they recorded No Need to Argue another hit album that included "Zombie" and "Ode to My Family". "Zombie", one of the band's most famous songs, was a protest about the violence between Protestant and Catholic extremists in Northern Ireland in the time of The Troubles .
Amidst rumors of O'Riordan's imminent departure, the band released To the Faithful Departed to limited success. During the next few years, the band cancelled a large tour and rumors of a breakup are widespread, though the band released Bury the Hatchet to mixed reviews in 1999.