The highly controversial campaign to get “Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead,” by the “Wizard of Oz” Film Cast to No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart has ended in narrow defeat.
As BBC Radio 1 announced the Official Charts Company’s new sales data on Sunday evening, amid massive scrutiny of its own coverage of the situation, the 1939 recording, available on various labels, landed at No. 2 with 52,605 downloads. That was some 5,700 behind those for Duke Dumont’s “Need U (100%)” (Ministry of Sound), featuring A*M*E, which started a second week at No. 1. Meanwhile, Paramore’s self-titled fourth album (Atlantic/Warner Music) became their second U.K. chart-topper.
Dumont’s dance-pop single thus wins the odd distinction of preventing a No. 1 ranking for a 51-second film soundtrack recording, contentiously earmarked to “celebrate” last Monday’s death of former British Prime Minister Lady Thatcher. “Need You” sold 58,321 copies in the sales week that ended midnight Saturday, according to the OCC.
As reported earlier, the BBC had responded to the national (and, latterly, international) conversation about whether they should or should not broadcast the song on Radio 1’s flagship Sunday chart countdown by announcing that only a short clip of “Ding! Dong!” would be played within a news report on the show.
That report, compiled by Radio 1’s Newsbeat team, featured approximately seven seconds of the song, comprising the lyrics of the song title. The report, clearly designed to explain the circumstances behind its chart debut to a largely young audience, spelt out how Thatcher and her policies “strongly divided political and public opinion” and that the rise of interest in the “Wizard Of Oz” recording had done the same. It also aired short comments from young members of the public about the campaign, which ranged from “quite funny” to “disgraceful.”
In a bizarre showing of political backlash, the new top 40 also contained a “new” entry for another track that was the subject of a Facebook campaign, this time by supporters of the late PM. The Notsensibles’ “I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher” (Notsensible), recorded in 1979, the year she first became Prime Minister, made a rapid rise through the week to debut at No. 35. The OCC announced its weekly sales at 8,768 downloads.
In an otherwise fairly quiet chart week, Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” (RCA/Sony), featuring Nate Ruess, dipped 2-3. Bastlle’s “Pompeii” (Virgin EMI/Universal) moved back 4-3 and Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment” (J/Mr 305/Polo Ground/Sony), featuring Christina Aguilera improved 8-5.The next highest new entry was Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt’s “Stay Out” (Universal Island), at No. 21.
All of the attention on the singles chart took some of the spotlight off Paramore’s album achievement, which saw their new release end the three-week run at No. 1 by Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” (RCA/Sony Music Entertainment), outselling it by more than two to one.
Pink’s “The Truth About Love” climbed back 5-3 and Emeli Sandé’s 61st week in the album top ten with “Our Version Of Events” (Virgin EMI/Universal) saw it climb back 7-4. Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” (Interscope/ Universal), which arrived last week at No. 2, fell to No. 5.
Critically lauded singer-writer James Blake went one better than the No. 9 peak of his self-titled 2011 debut album with a No. 8 debut for its follow-up “Overgrown” (Polydor/Universal). , “Now That’s What I Call Music! 84” (EMI TV/UMTV/Universal) began a third week at No. 1 on the compilation chart.