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"Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" hits UK chart on Thatcher's death

A man walks in front of a newspaper advertisement with the portrait of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Sydney April 9, 20
A man walks in front of a newspaper advertisement with the portrait of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Sydney April 9, 20

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has sent a 74-year-old song, "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead", flying into the UK charts, figures showed on Wednesday.

The song from the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" was top of Amazon's most downloaded chart on Wednesday after a social media campaign to promote the upbeat track as a way for detractors to "celebrate" the death of Britain's most divisive postwar leader.

A spokeswoman from Britain's Official Charts Company said the track, sung in the film by the Munchkin characters alongside Judy Garland's Dorothy after the oppressive Wicked Witch of the West dies, would hit No. 10 in the singles chart on Wednesday.

"The surge in sales follows a campaign to get the track to Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart following the death of Margaret Thatcher on Monday," said the spokeswoman.

She said the song had sold over 10,600 copies by late Tuesday which was about 5,000 copies away from a Top 3 placing.

Another version of the song, by late U.S. singer Ella Fitzgerald, was ranked No. 5 in the Amazon download chart.

Amazon reviewers urged others to buy the track to show their disapproval of Thatcher whose free-market ideology drove policies which alienated the many Britons who demonize the "Iron Lady" as a destroyer of jobs and traditional British industries.

"For those genuine witches, who purposely destroy the lives of others for purely ideological reasons and with not one shred of apology or a single tear, this is the perfect funeral-day track," wrote reviewer Gareth Mark Gee from Nottingham.

A Facebook group, encouraging people to download the "Witch" song to get it to No. 1, had over 5,000 members by Wednesday.

Thatcher died at London's Ritz hotel on Monday after suffering a stroke. She was aged 87.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Paul Casciato)

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