Sandstorm (Darude composition)

"Sandstorm" is a musical composition by Finnish DJ and record producer Darude. It was released as the lead single from his debut studio album Before the Storm. It was initially released in Finland on 26 October 1999 by 16 Inch Records and it was eventually re-released in many other countries in 2000. The song was uploaded to where it gained global recognition. It has also gained recognition for its usage in sports and popularity in internet meme culture. On 1 March 2010, over ten years after its original release, "Sandstorm" was certified Gold in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over 500,000 copies.

Sandstorm single.jpg
Sandstorm single.jpg


Darude first started making happy hardcore with a music tracker program on his computer, playing gigs as "Rudeboy". He then performed with Wille "Weirdness" Heikkilä as "Position 1", making light Eurodance tunes, and he paired with other DJs on other projects. In September–October 1999 as Darude he began collaborating with Jaakko "JS16" Salovaara, known as the producer of the Bomfunk MC's. "Sandstorm" was the first product of the collaboration, ready after about a week of work. JS16 signed Darude as the first artist on JS16's new label 16 Inch Records.

Darude had been uploading various pieces of his trance experimentation on the website, where he was building a following, and he also uploaded the full-length demo of "Sandstorm". This exposure was responsible for worldwide interest in "Sandstorm". In 2000, Darude reported on his artist's page that he had "removed the full-length tracks" of "Sandstorm" at the request of his record company.

In a 2016 Reddit AMA interview, Darude admitted that he had never experienced an actual sandstorm but had experienced a dust devil.


"Sandstorm" is an instrumental trance composition. According to Darude, the hardware and software used to make the track are as follows: P2, Cubase VST 32, FastTracker 2, ReBirth, Korg TR-Rack. Then with JS16 in his studio: Cubase on Atari ST1024, Ensoniq ASR-10 sampler, Roland JP8080, NordLead2, Roland JV2080, Ensoniq DP4, Mackie 24/8, Behringer rack compressor.

Music video

The video for "Sandstorm" features Darude with headphones viewing two armed security guards (a man and a woman) chasing a woman with a case. Darude seems to appear at every place the pursuers and the pursued go. Near the end, the woman with the case stumbles and one of her pursuers (the other woman) betrays her partner, knocking him out. The two women take the case onto a boat with Darude. An unofficially-uploaded version of the music video was uploaded on YouTube on 5 March 2006 and has garnered over 47 million views, while the officially-uploaded version on Darude's channel has garnered over 67 million views.

The video was directed by Juuso Syrjä, a.k.a. Uzi, and was shot in various places in Helsinki, including the Helsinki Cathedral and the Senate Square. It became the first Finnish music video shown on MTV in the US and it received several awards in Finland and on MTV.

Usage in media

In film and television

"Sandstorm" appeared on the pilot episode of popular Showtime series Queer as Folk, which first aired on 3 December 2000. The song has appeared in the comedy movie (2005 remake) Fun with Dick and Jane. In 2013 it appeared in the drama film Filth and in Under the Skin (during the discothèque scene). On a Finnish TV-show called "Far Out" two contestants named Tatu and Eeka travelled to Budapest where their assignment was to play music with gypsies. They ended up with making their own version of Sandstorm called "Sandström" together with two Hungarian musicians. The song was also used in the 2001 Finnish film Tango Cabaret (Tango Kabaree).

In sports

In 2009, "Sandstorm" was played for the first time at the University of South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium during a Gamecocks football game. While it was actually played by accident during the waning minutes of the Gamecocks' victory over Ole Miss, it has become a rallying anthem for South Carolina fans.

Professional wrestler Toru Owashi, mixed martial artist Wanderlei Silva, and Chicago Cubs pitcher Koji Uehara use "Sandstorm" as entrance music. It was also played at the 2006 Winter Olympics, and during the Ice Hockey World Championships. Nike used the composition in an advertisement series featuring the basketball opponents Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. The song was also used as the theme for the finals parade at the 2011 British Judo Championships (Pre Cadet and Cadet) held in Sheffield, England. Cambridge United FC use Sandstorm as the music that plays when the teams come out onto the field of play before the match begins.

Internet phenomenon

The popularity of the song as background music for those who stream their video gaming on the platform led to a meme that any question asking for the name of a song was replied to with the comment "Darude – Sandstorm."

As an April Fools' Day joke on 1 April 2015, YouTube displayed the message "Did you mean: Darude – Sandstorm by Darude" for all video search queries involving music, in addition to adding a button which played the tune during a video.

Track listing

  • CD single
  1. "Sandstorm" (Radio Edit) – 3:46
  2. "Sandstorm" (Original Mix) – 7:26
  3. "Sandstorm" (JS16 Remix) – 7:21
  • Sandstorm (The Remixes) – EP
  1. "Sandstorm" (Radio Edit) – 3:49
  2. "Sandstorm" (Extended) – 7:26
  3. "Sandstorm" (Dallas Superstarts Remix) – 8:24
  4. "Sandstorm" (Komytea Radio Remix) – 3:54
  5. "Sandstorm" (Komytea Remix) – 7:40
  6. "Sandstorm" (DJ Ray Aka Tom Hafman Remix) – 7:13
  7. "Sandstorm" (Superchumbo's Sandy Storm) – 8:38
  8. "Sandstorm" (Jan Driver Remix) – 6:16

Charts and certifications

Chart performance

Soon after release, "Sandstorm" became popular on pop radio stations, reaching number one in Norway. Its sales worldwide eventually reached 2 million, and it was featured on 200 compilations.

Preceded by
"It Feels So Good" by Sonique
Norwegian number-one single
27 July 2000 – 31 August 2000 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Music" by Madonna

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