Skip to main content

In the fast-paced world of dance music, few songs command the staying power needed to make a cultural impact. Darude's 1999 classic "Sandstorm" is among the few. 

Released at the turn of the century, "Sandstorm" arrived when the dance music landscape was, in some ways, still in its developing stages. The success of "Sandstorm" has been the basis of Darude's career success and marked many milestones for the dance music community as a whole. 

Like many great projects, "Sandstorm" was almost a forgone venture. The melody was written years before, and the project was sitting idle before Darude (real name Toni-Ville Henrik Virtanen) returned to the idea and brought it across the finish line.

Upon its release, "Sandstorm" began to gain traction, catching the Finnish DJ/producer completely off guard. The next logical step was to create a music video. The video's director, Suujo Syrja, approached the project with the simple idea of highlighting notable Helsinki landmarks. Despite the lack of a grand plan, "Sandstorm" and its assets kept gathering momentum. After topping the Finnish music charts, the music video went on to reach MTV in the United States. Virtanen would become the first Finnish artist to accomplish this feat.  

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

CRSSD Ocean View stage at sunset

CRSSD Closed Out Summer With a Bang In 2022

The fall edition of CRSSD Festival treated electronic music lovers to the sounds of Jamie xx, MK, Fred again.. and more.

music production general

Music Tech Startup Songfinch Raises $17 Million to "Create a Middle Class of Musicians"

Songfinch's CEO says only the top 2% of artists in the music industry "get a chance to participate and eat most of the dollars."

Despite the grand optics, "Sandstorm" was far from dance music's biggest commercial hit. The song finally achieved Gold status in the U.S. in 2010, a full decade after its release. In the process, however, "Sandstorm" had aggregated seemingly immeasurable cultural appeal.

On the road to reaching ubiquitous recognition, "Sandstorm" found many unlikely allies. From newly popular gaming channels on YouTube to schools such as the University of South Carolina using the song as their stadium pump-up anthem, the song became bolstered to the popularity it continues to enjoy today. 

In looking to similar fixtures of dance music history such as Bauuer's "Harlem Shake," we ultimately see that the power of memes and crossover appeal in music cannot be underestimated. Darude's "Sandstorm" is arguably the first case study highlighting this phenomenon. Even after its now multi-decade success, "Sandstorm" is showing no signs of receding from mainstream consciousness anytime soon.





On This Day in Dance Music History: Skrillex Released "Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites"

We take a look back at Skrillex's breakout EP and its impact on dance music.

daft punk

On This Day In Dance Music History: Daft Punk Released "One More Time"

Released at the turn of the century, "One More Time" has kept worldwide audiences dancing ever since.

TimStudio2104_edit 2

On This Day in Dance Music History: Avicii Released "Levels"

On October 28th, 2011, Avicii released what would become one of the biggest songs in EDM history, "Levels."

On This Day In Dance Music History: Skrillex Released Bangarang

On December 23rd, 2011, Skrillex made waves with one of his biggest EPs to date, Bangarang.

A photo of Dutch DJ/producer Martin Garrix (real name Martijn Garritsen) during a performance with fire in the background.

On This Day In EDM History: Martin Garrix Released "Animals"

On June 17th, 2013, Martin Garrix released "Animals" and sparked a movement within dance music.

A color photo of DJ/producer Porter Robinson during a performance courtesy of Rukes.

On This Day in Dance Music History: Porter Robinson Released Virtual Self

On November 29th, 2017, Porter Robinson debuted his Virtual Self project with an EP of its namesake.


On This Day in Dance Music History: Skrillex and Damian Marley Released "Make It Bun Dem"

On May 1st 2012, Skrillex and Damian Marley would release the one of the biggest reggae and dubstep crossovers of all time, "Make It Bun Dem".

deadmau5 wearing mau5head during a DJ performance.

On This Day in Dance Music History: deadmau5 released 4x4=12

On December 6th, 2010, deadmau5 furthered his influence with his fifth studio album "4x4=12."