Judy Garland song likely to be in UK Top 40 in response to Margaret Thatcher’s death

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A Facebook campaign to get a song by gay icon Judy Garland into the Official UK Top 40 Chart this week, as a response to Margaret Thatcher’s death, looks as though it could be successful in placing the song in the charts.

The Conservative former prime minister died on Monday, aged 87 from a stroke. Her politics on gay issues proved to be divisive for the LGBT community. She voted for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967; however, her government  in 1987 introduced the highly controversial Section 28, which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, sung by Judy Garland, from the 1939 film the Wizard of Oz, and the phrase itself had become synonymous with social media messages by those opposed to Thatcher’s politics.

According to the Official Chart website: “Three versions of the song are currently figuring in the Top 200 – Judy Garland’s version at 54, Ella Fitzgerald’s 1961 cover is at 146 and the Munchkins’ version at 183. Contrary to some reports, all three versions qualify under industry chart rules.”

The website goes on to note that, if the numbers for all three songs were combined, it would place into the top 40 today.

The Facebook group was created yesterday, and around 3000 people joined, some international, and many encouraging the download of a specific recording of the song, in order to maximise the possibility of it entering the chart.

At time of publication, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead had entered the UK iTunes chart, and had reached the number nine position.

Some Thatcher opponents, and those who have taken distaste at claims that the former Prime Minster was considered an icon by some gay people, have noted the potential irony in her death bringing a Judy Garland song into the UK chart.

Others have tweeted to point out the potential difficulties faced by the BBC, as Radio One could be placed in a difficult situation if it is made to play the song on Sunday’s chart show.

One Twitter user asked: “Could the official chart show even mention @dongthewitch getting to #1?”

A long-time gay icon, Judy Garland was voted the number one female gay icon in a 2009 poll, with Elton John featuring as the number one male. 

Social media websites exploded yesterday with people’s reactions to Thatcher’s death, many celebrating, and others paying tribute. Street parties took place in London, Bristol and Glasgow last night, in celebration.

Earlier today, X Factor singer Rylan Clark deleted a tweet in tribute to Thatcher, after being reminded of her role in introducing Section 28 and her general disdain for gay rights. Clark tweeted: “Getting a bit of backlash about thatcher, maybe I’m not up on history???

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