14 Apr 2013

Thatcher Ding Dong misses top chart spot

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead the song “chartjacked” by opponents of Margaret Thatcher fails to reach the number one spot.

Margaret Thatcher protest song Ding Dong the Witch is Dead reaches number two in the UK's Official Top 40 (Image: Getty)

Keen to demonstrate their protest against the legacy of Baroness Thatcher, a rush of people downloaded the song this week for 79p.

Taken from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, and sung by Judy Garland, the song entered the charts at number two.

It was more than 5,000 sales short of this week’s chart-topper Need U (100%) by Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E.

‘Controversial contender’

The Official Charts Company described Ding Dong the Witch is Dead as “one of the most controversial chart contenders of all time”.

Sales were fuelled by an online campaign organised by opponents of the former prime minister, who wanted to see the 51-second song reach number one.

It entered the charts at number 54 on Tuesday, the day after Baroness Thatcher’s death, and climbed to number 10 on Wednesday. By Thursday, it had reached number four and was at number three by Friday.

There was a final rush of 18,000 sales between Friday morning and today, the Official Charts Company said, but its final total was 52,605 copies – 5,700 behind Duke Dumont, which achieved 58,321 sales in the past week.

Read more: Ding Dong and the age of the digital protest

Brewing all week, a row over whether the song should be played or censored on grounds of taste came to a head on Friday.

Some Tory MPs demanded the BBC ban the song – but others warned that politicians should not interfere in the choice of records played by broadcasters.

New BBC Director General Tony Hall has explained the broadcaster’s decision to only play a five-second clip of the song as part of a news item during the Radio 1 chart show, saying: “I personally believe it is distasteful and inappropriate.

“However I do believe it would be wrong to ban the song outright as free speech is an important principle and a ban would only give it more publicity.”

Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper agreed it was a “logical decision”.

Punk rival

Punk song I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher by the Notsensibles, which was featured in recent film The Iron Lady, also entered the top 40 today.

The 1979 single reached number 35 after a push from fans of Lady Thatcher in response to Ding Dong the Witch is Dead and sold 8,768 copies.

An Official Charts Company spokeswoman said it had been a “relatively quiet” week for sales however, with the average sale of a number one in 2012 being just under 106,000 copies.

Despite failing to reach the top spot, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead has broken a new record by becoming the shortest top 10 single of all time and is the only one in history to be under a minute long.