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Once-banned video for Cranberries' protest song Zombie hits 1bn YouTube views

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Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan

Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan

The scene of the bomb blast in Warrington 1993

The scene of the bomb blast in Warrington 1993

Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan

A music video recorded as a protest to the 1993 Warrington bombs in which two children were killed has passed a billion views on YouTube.

Zombie, released the year after the atrocity in England, was written and sung by Irish artist, the late Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries.

The video, which includes footage of children in Belfast playing war games during the Troubles, was initially banned by the BBC because of its violent images.

The Cranberries have now become the first Irish group or artist to reach the online channel's one billion views mark, ranking them alongside the likes of Queen and Nirvana.

And the music video is only the third from the 1990s - and the sixth from the 20th century - to reach the milestone figure, according to Variety magazine. The others are Guns N' Roses' November Rain (1992); Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991); Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine (1987); A-ha's Take On Me (1985); and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (1975).

So far this year, Zombie has been averaging 178,000 daily views on YouTube.

For the last few months, the band has been rallying fans to help it reach the one billion mark, which it did on Saturday.

Ms O'Riordan, a Limerick-born musician who was known for her "keening" voice, wrote the song after the IRA bombings on March 20, 1993.

The two bombs, which exploded within minutes of each other on a bustling main street in the Cheshire town, killed two children and injured 56 other people. The victims were three-year-old Johnathan Bell, who had been out shopping with his babysitter for a Mother's Day card, and 12-year-old Tim Parry who died five days later when his life support machine was switched off.

Since then, his father Colin has campaigned for peace and set up a foundation, named after both boys, to promote non-violent conflict resolution.

Zombie is from the band's second album, No Need to Argue. The video was directed by Samuel Bayer, who shot the footage of children playing war games on Belfast's streets during the Troubles, against a backdrop of political and historical murals.

In the video, O'Riordan stands before a giant cross wearing a crown of thorns surrounded by silver cherubs, with cutaway shots of the band performing.

At the time of her death in January 2018 aged 46, Ms O'Riordan had been set to team up with hard rock group Bad Wolves on a Zombie remake. The band subsequently released their own cover version and donated $250,000 from sales to the O'Riordan family.

Belfast Telegraph