This collector just had a bit of a somber mailday today as a package arrived from Newbury Comics with a couple of CDs inside.
They were copies of The Cranberries‘ album Something Else, a collection of their biggest hits from the past performed with an orchestra as well as three new songs released last year.
Each of them also came with something else, something extra, something more personal — an autograph from Dolores O’Riordan, who died Monday at age 46.
With this new album being a revisiting of the band’s past, its cover is an homage to the band’s best-selling and probably best-known album, No Need to Argue, which arrived in the fall of 1994 with one of the songs many people know, “Zombie.”
To me, this rock band’s sound is definitely one that helps define the 1990s, though my musical tastes trended a little harder than their norm, which also includes hit such as “Linger” and “Dreams.” If you were around in the 1990s — you know, back when MTV played videos — then you probably know these well. I do, and when I saw the news of O’Riordan’s death on Twitter on Monday morning I instantly remembered a moment in my past that included that album from some 23 years ago. It’s funny how music works that way — just from a CD playing at a particular time and place burrows its way into memory.
I also immediately thought about Newbury and its deep roster of autographed CDs that it sells solely for the price of the album and not a penny more, in this case $14.99. (I’ve tweeted and written about the Boston-based company at times in the past.) They make deals with music labels and sell a number of autographed copies — typically an extra booklet along with the CDs — from many big-name artists and hit-makers from the past as a way to draw in fans in this age of digital download dominance.
I knew that The Cranberries had been in the mix alongside a number of other bands’ CDs and I did a search. I did a double-take as it was still there — signed only by O’Riordan — and, for the first time, placed an order from the company, knowing that the timing here could mean disappointment later with inevitable renewed demand meaning a sell-out. Minutes later, they were all gone, but not after I picked up two. Why? Certainly not to flip, but to add to my autograph stash — one where music isn’t as heavily represented because there’s never really been any substantial card sets offering certified autographs of rock/metal or other genres I like. Plus, music autos aren’t typically easily found on a budget or with ironclad authentication.
I picked up two copies in this case to make sure that they were different autographs on each booklet and not autopens or something else like a rubber stamp. (It happens at times with entertainers who don’t sign stuff as often as athletes do.) The autograph you see here is definitely from the same signing session where third-party authenticators have deemed other CDs to be legit, so any concern has vanished here. One had a full autograph with every letter showing, while the other one I got is a more condensed and rushed but still signed in the same location with the same slightly transparent ink.
It turns out, autographs or not, I wasn’t alone wanting to revisit this iconic Irish band led by the little woman who could really wail. (“What’s in your heeeeaaadddd …”) Billboard reports that the band is likely to be back on the charts next week as sales of their albums spiked more than 14,000 percent after the news and more than 10,000 percent via digital downloads.
From here, these autographs will go into my stash where they’ll be alongside the likes of Axl Rose, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper and a couple members of The Doors, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger. Then, I’ll take a few minutes this weekend to dig out some old CDs and then check out this new one, too.
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