Witch song enters Irish top 40

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

The Judy Garland track today 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 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 said that it will not ban the song. A spokeswoman confirmed it was played on 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, which compiles Ireland’s music singles countdown, said it would only take 300 or 400 sales to get into the top 40.

“It would take a few thousand to reach number one at this time of year,” he said. “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.

“It would take a huge number of downloads to get up there,” he said. “It would be very difficult to do that.”

Chart-Track, which collects sales information for the 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.

In the UK, the BBC will not play the song in full during this weekend’s Radio 1 chart show.

Reaction to the former prime minister’s death in Ireland – where her legacy was just as divisive as across the Irish Sea – was mixed.

In Northern Ireland, there were street celebrations in some republican areas of Derry and west Belfast, which were met with angry denouncements by unionists.

In the Irish Republic, reaction was more muted.

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