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Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead fails to knock Duke Dumont off number one

By | Published on Sunday 14 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher

‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead’, from the soundtrack of 1939 movie ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, has reached number two in the UK singles chart, failing to knock Duke Dumont and A*M*E’s ‘Need U (100%)’ off the top spot, where it remains for a second week.

As previously reported, ‘Ding Dong!’ began rising up the chart following the announcement of the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Monday. Initial sales of the track were attributed to a Facebook campaign, though the movement was subsequently boosted by considerable media coverage, even though much of it was opposed to the chart initiative, which many journalists and politicians deemed to be in bad taste.

By Tuesday at midnight the Official Charts Company reported that the song had sold 29,000 copies and was selling at a rate of 2000 per day – though ultimately that was still not enough to catch up on Duke Dumont’s lead, despite a late surge which saw the ‘Oz’ track sell 18,000 copies between Friday morning and the cut off point of midnight on Saturday.

The final figures show that Duke Dumont sold 58,321 copies of his single in the last week, while the version of ‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ being bought by most people (several other versions also saw a boost in sales this week but failed to chart) shifted 52,605, putting it in second place. The OCC notes that the high chart postion achieved by ‘Ding Dong’ was aided in part by this being a relatively low sales week for singles, stating that the average sales figure for a number one record in 2012 was 106,000.

Those who felt buying the ‘Ding Dong’ track was a suitable way of expressing their continued opposition to Thatcher’s legacy can perhaps take comfort that, while they missed the number one spot, they have helped set a chart record. At 51 seconds in length, ‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ is the first single under 60 seconds in length to make it into the top ten in chart history.

Though, as previously reported, for Radio 1 even that was too long for its chart show, it choosing instead to air a brief clip of the track as part of a news report on the macabre chart campaign. Facing strong pressure from political leaders and other media, the BBC chose not to play the record on its chart programme, instead pulling in Newsbeat to explain why Thatcher’s death has so divided public opinion in the UK, mainly for the benefit of Radio 1’s core demographic, many of whom were born after Thatcher was forced to resign in 1990.

With many feeling that the whole ‘Ding Dong’ campaign was in bad taste, supporters of Margaret Thatcher, led by former Conservative MP Louise Mensch, launched their own campaign to get a song into charts on Friday. Slightly bizarrely, they chose ‘I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher’ by late 70s/early 80s punk band The Notsensibles, which is not exactly the pro-Thatcher song they seemed to believe (the clue is in the band’s name). And even if it was, that Mensch et al felt the message they wanted to send out following Thatcher’s death was that they found her very sexy seems rather inappropriate too. Anyway, the campaign began too late in the day, and the song just scraped into the top 40 at number 35 with 8768 units shifted.

But anyway, as Britian’s political community awaits Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday, here ends one of the more unusual weeks in the music charts. Though, as an aside, now that a Ministry Of Sound-released single has thwarted anti-Thatcher protesters’ hopes of getting ‘Ding Dong’ to number one in the week of her death, perhaps Thatcher-fan Boris Johnson could return the favour by blocking that controversial residential development next to the MoS nightclub in London.