Unlike many of the 52 Songs That Changed My Life, there is no great story behind today’s entry.
I don’t remember the first time I heard Zombie by The Cranberries, nor can I honestly tell you that, when I did hear it, it radically shaped my taste in music.
I can’t even claim that the song’s captivating, politically charged lyrics, performed so passionately by singer Dolores O’Riordan.
It did, however, change my life in another significant way:
It was the first song I learned to play in its entirety on the bass guitar.
…And The Violence, Caused Such Silence
I’ve written before that it was songs like Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Mr. Brownstone and Metallica’s King Nothing that first inspired me to pick up the four string, but when I did, both of those songs seemed like the musical equivalent of tackling quantum physics after buying my first calculator.
I needed to start slowly and simply, so the very first things I learned, after the very basic fundamentals of course, were the bassline to Stand By Me , and John Deacon’s famous riff from Another One Bites The Dust.
From there, I was ready to start thinking about learning an entire song from start to finish. I knew exactly what kind of song it had to be:
Something simple and fairly repetitive and yet with enough gusto and energy that I wouldn’t get bored whilst playing it over and over as part of the learning process.
Zombie, unquestionably, was the perfect song.
I practiced that bass for hour after hour, over and over again, going over every little detail time and time again, and driving everybody in the house crazy.
Weirdly, not only did I never get bored of it, but the more I played, the more I actually grew to love the song, to find myself wholly enraptured by that blazing passion and unbridled intensity.
You know those songs that you’ve heard so many times that they lose their appeal?
Zombie has never been one of those songs for me.
Even now, years after I spent all those hours learning to play it in my bedroom, I hear it and feel the exact same excitement as I did back then, and, even if there’s no bass guitar in sight, you can bet your last that I’ll be sat there, jamming away to what happens to be one of the most powerful bass lines ever recorded.
Zombie by The Cranberries is the 22nd song in my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below:
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen – The Hitman
- R.E.M – Drive
- Pink Floyd – The Wall
- The Eagles – Take it Easy
- Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes is Back
- Coal Chamber – Loco
- Type O Negative – Everything Dies
- Monster Magnet – Space Lord
- Live – The Dolphin’s Cry
- Metallica – The Memory Remains
- The Prodigy – Poison
- Nirvana – Territorial Pissings
- Iron Maiden – The Angel & The Gambler
- Metallica – Creeping Death
- Pantera – Cowboys From Hell
- System of a Down – Sugar
- Guns ‘n’ Roses – Garden of Eden
- Guns ‘n’ Roses – Mr. Brownstone
- Metallica – King Nothing