Linger (song)

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Artwork for 1994 UK and European rereleases
Single by The Cranberries
from the album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
B-side"Liar", "Reason", "Them"
Released23 February 1993
17 February 1994 (re-release)
4:11 (Edit)
Producer(s)Stephen Street
The Cranberries singles chronology
Audio sample
Music video
"Linger" on YouTube
Alternative cover
Artwork for US vinyl and CD releases
Artwork for US vinyl and CD releases

"Linger" is a song composed by Irish musicians Dolores O'Riordan and Noel Hogan of the rock band The Cranberries, released in 1993. The song, which has an acoustic arrangement featuring a string section, became the band's first major hit, peaking at #3 in the Republic of Ireland, #8 in the United States,[1] and #14 in the United Kingdom. The song remained in the Billboard Hot 100 for 24 weeks. The song was voted by Triple J listeners as #3 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 1993 chart. In 2017, an acoustic, stripped-down version of the song was released as the lead single for the album Something Else.[2]


Originally, the lyrics to "Linger" were written by Cranberries' first singer Niall Quinn. After O'Riordan was auditioned as the lead singer for the band, she wrote her own set of lyrics, turning it into a song of regret based on a soldier she once fell in love with.[3] Drummer Fergal Lawler recalled the process in an interview, saying:

It was a Sunday afternoon. She arrived with a keyboard under her arm, just set it up and played a few songs. We couldn't really hear her because she was singing through a guitar amp or something. I gave her a lift up to the bus stop and I was saying, 'Will we see you next week?' We gave her a tape of the music for 'Linger', which she took with her. The following week she came back, and she had lyrics written out and melodies and she sang along to what we were playing, and it was like, 'Oh, my God. She’s great'.[4]

In the documentary '99 Love Life & Rock 'n' Roll, O'Riordan says that the song is about her first serious kiss.

"Linger" has since become one of the band's most famous songs. In a 2012 interview, O'Riordan commented, "I remember when MTV first put 'Linger' in heavy rotation, every time I walked into a diner or a hotel lobby, it was like, 'Jesus, man, here I am again'. It was trippy, like Jacob's Ladder. I didn't even have to take drugs".[5]

In an interview for New Musical Express, guitarist Noel Hogan said of the song:

It's only really since Dolores passed away that I've grown a proper appreciation for songs like 'Linger' and 'Dreams'. They were just songs in the set list for us; everybody else was losing their mind about them. And when I listen to them now I realise how great they are for someone so young, which I never, ever appreciated until a year ago. We must have played it a gazillion times in our lives and it just becomes a part of the set, but it’s different now. We’re so lucky to have left that behind, to have that legacy.[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Linger", shot in grayscale, is a tribute to Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 science fiction noir film Alphaville. In one of the rooms of the hotel a silent film is being shown which features 1950s stripper Blaze Starr.[7]

Track listing[edit]

North American CD Single (1993)
  1. "Linger" (Album Version) – 4:34
  2. "Liar" (Previously Unreleased) – 2:22
  3. "Them" (Previously Unreleased) – 3:43
  4. "Reason"(Previously Unreleased) – 2:02
"Liar" has previously appeared on the Dreams single. "Them" and "Reason" are written by Dolores O'Riordan and Noel Hogan.
UK and European 12" Single
  1. "Linger" (Album Version) – 4:34
  2. "Reason" (Previously Unreleased) – 2:02
  3. "How" (Radical Mix) – 2:58
US CD Single/Promo
  1. "Linger" (Edit) – 4:11
  2. "Linger" (Album Version) – 4:34
US 7" Single/Promo
  1. "Linger" (Album Version) – 4:34
  2. "Dreams" (Album Version) – 4:32
Cassette Singles
US Cassingle
  1. "Linger" (Album Version) – 4:34
  2. "How" – 2:56
UK Cassingle
  1. "Linger" (Album Version) – 4:34
  2. "Reason" (Previously Unreleased) – 2:02
UK and European CD Single (1994)
  1. "Linger" (Album Version) – 4:34
  2. "Pretty" – 2:16
  3. "Waltzing Back" (Live at The Record Plant, Hollywood) – 4:01
  4. "Pretty" (Live at The Record Plant, Hollywood) – 2:11
UK and European 7" Single
  1. "Linger" (Album Version) – 4:34
  2. "Pretty" – 2:16


Usage in media[edit]

The song was used in episode 18 of the second season of ABC's show Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 where one of the main characters June called it "her breakup song". "Linger" also appeared on an episode of Hindsight.

The song was also used in the 1994 movie Camp Nowhere and in the 2006 movie Click where it first played during the bar scene. In addition, Dolores O'Riordan made an appearance performing "Linger" in the wedding reception scene.

The song was heard on the television show NCIS (S16 Ep 14 Once Upon a Time).

The song was used in the third episode of season two of Amy Schumer’s Inside Amy Schumer, during the “Calling the Cable Company” skit.



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  3. ^ "Linger" by The Cranberries - SongFacts (accessed 25 August 2016)
  4. ^ Browne, David. "The Making of the Cranberries' Haunted Farewell". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  5. ^ Kaplan, Ben. "The Cranberries: Everybody else is reuniting, so why can't they?" (PDF). National Post. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  6. ^ Aubrey, Elizabeth. "The Cranberries on their final album: "It's like a little gift Dolores left behind"". NME. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  7. ^ The Cranberries - Linger on YouTube (uploaded 16 June 2009)
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