Bitter sweet symphony: EU anthem tops UK download chart

As Britain starts life outside the European Union, pro-EU diehards could at least claim a tiny consolation victory on Friday in the weekly pop charts.

Having fought a titanic political contest for three years over Brexit, Britain's "Leavers" and "Remainers" did battle in the singles charts, trying to get rival songs to number one.

While both sides fell well short, Remainers managed to get the EU's anthem "Ode to Joy" to number 30 -- and it was the most downloaded track of the week.

The piece from German composer Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9" was performed by the Johann Strauss Orchestra, led by Dutch conductor Andre Rieu.

That trumped comedian Dominic Frisby's profane rival tune "17 Million Fuck-Offs" backed by Brexiteers, which made it to number 43, the UK Official Charts Company said.

The novelty pro-Brexit song takes aim at the Brussels and London establishments as well as pro-EU celebrities.

Overall, Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi topped the charts with "Before You Go".

Britain opted to leave the EU by a margin of 17.4 million to 16.1 million votes in the seismic 2016 referendum.

After years of bitter wrangling and mud-slinging between Leavers and Remainers, the UK's departure from the European Union was set for 2300 GMT on Friday.