Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Witch song enters pop singles chart

Judy Garland, pictured here in November 1957, was aged 16 when she recorded the song for The Wizard Of Oz in 1939

Controversy over Ding, Dong The Witch Is Dead has spread to Ireland, where the song has soared into the charts.

The Judy Garland track became the oldest recording ever to enter the Irish weekly top 40, as it premiered at number 33.

It is one of a number of versions of the song making sales in Ireland since the death of from British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

An online campaign by her opponents in Britain has helped hurtle the Wizard Of Oz song towards the top of the pops, creating a huge headache for the BBC on whether to play it or not during the weekly charts show.

RTE, Ireland's state broadcaster, said it will not ban the song. A spokeswoman confirmed it was played on their pop music station 2fm today.

"The song is not play-listed on 2fm as it doesn't necessarily fit with the station's usual output, but there are certainly no restrictions on the song and DJs are free to play it as they see fit," she added.

Dick Doyle, chief executive of Irish Record Music Association (Irma), which compiles Ireland's music singles countdown, said it would only take 300 or 400 sales to get into the top 40.

He said: "It would take a few thousand to reach number one at this time of year. That figure might be higher at Christmas but this is around the quietest time of the year."

Mr Doyle said he did not expect the track to reach the Irish top spot, judging by previous trends for novelty or campaign-driven entries. He said: "It would take a huge number of downloads to get up there. It would be very difficult to do that."

Chart-Track, which collects sales information for the Irish countdown, said the "surprise entry" - originally recorded in 1939 - was the oldest track to ever make the top 40. The company said several other versions of the Wizard Of Oz song were also selling this week, the other most notable version by Ella Fitzgerald.

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