“Sandstorm” is an iconic instrumental track by Finnish DJ and record producer Darude. Originally released in Finland in 1999, “Sandstorm” was Darude’s lead-off single for his debut studio album, Before the Storm.
After its initial release in 1999, “Sandstorm” was re-released in 2000. After it was uploaded to the now defunct MP3.com, “Sandstorm” gained global recognition, becoming immensely popular in sports and meme culture.
Over 10 years after its initial release, “Sandstorm” was certified Gold in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America after selling over 500,000 copies. Another 10 years later, in January of 2020, the single was certified platinum after it reached the milestone of over one million sales.
“Sandstorm” is an instrumental trance track made entirely on Darude’s music tracker program on his computer. The single’s music video, shot at various locations throughout Helsinki, features Darude wearing headphones and observing two armed security guards chasing a woman carrying a briefcase, in an apparent nod to the experimental German film, Run Lola Run. As of November, 2020, the video has over 192 million views on YouTube.
In addition to its place in the global trance zeitgeist, “Sandstorm” is well known for multiple appearances in a number of films and TV shows. The track appeared in the pilot episode of Showtime’s Queer as Folk, the remake of Fun with Dick and Jane, and in 2018’s Johnny English Strikes Again.
“Sandstorm” has also had a prolific run as a go-to track in the sports world. Originally played by accident during the final minutes of the University of South Carolina’s win over Ole Miss, the song quickly became a rallying anthem for South Carolina football fans, and continues to be used to this day. “Sandstorm” is also used by the NBA, the NHL, the Winter Olympics, and was used in a Nike campaign featuring Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Ultimately, Darude’s “Sandstorm” has become an iconic track from the late 1990s/early 2000s. The song is one that most people, whether they follow trance music or not, can recognize after the first few bars. “Sandstorm” has been featured on over 200 compilation albums in its lifetime, has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, and has reached the top of the charts in over five countries. It has also remained a globally recognizable song for over two decades.