Margaret Thatcher’s death has inspired a Facebook group that aims to get “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” to number one in the UK singles chart. And it seems to be working.
“Ding Dong,” which featured in 1939’s Wizard of Oz, is on course to reach number four, confirmed the Official Charts Company Thursday. That estimate was up 10 places from Wednesday, suggesting the group has enjoyed a recent boost from publicity.
Though a number four single would fall short of the group’s aim, it would certainly be noticed. It would also mean BBC Radio 1, which stages a hugely popular weekly chart show every Sunday, would have to play the song on the airwaves.
Should the single make the top five, BBC insiders have said it is “likely” the show will play “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” this Sunday, despite criticism from politicians and a campaign by The Daily Mail.
In what would be a first for the chart show, a reporter may also be put on air to explain why a song from the 1930s is charting. The BBC believes that Radio 1’s target audience of 16- to 24-year-olds, none of whom will recall Thatcher’s spell as Prime Minister, would be left confused without an explanation.
A spokesperson for the BBC said the corporation would not allow politics to influence its decision to play the song:
“The Official Chart Show on Sunday is a historical and factual account of what the British public has been buying and we will make a decision about playing it when the final chart positions are clear.”
This isn’t the first time Facebook has been used to influence the UK singles charts. In 2009, a Facebook group encouraged people to buy Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the Name” in a bid to prevent another X Factor contestant getting the coveted Christmas number one spot. The tactic worked.
Margaret Thatcher’s death on Monday has been met with a mix of gushing praise and bitter vitriol, and not much in-between. While plenty of famous figures rushed to pay tribute to the late Prime Minister, others used the occasion to criticize her policies, with hundreds of people in the UK attending impromptu street parties.