Where does Darude – Sandstorm come from?
In 1999, Finnish DJ and music producer Darude released a hit techno song called “Sandstorm.” While the epically upbeat song has been used in film, on television, and at sporting events, it gained massive popularity as the background music gamers chose to set their playthrough videos to.
According to Know Your Meme, in 2007 the YouTuber GameStream played “Sandstorm” as background music for gameplay footage of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. While not the first to pair gaming footage with this song, this video garnered millions of views, and “Sandstorm” caught on in the following years among other gamers.
The song was especially widespread on Twitch, a live-streaming video website. In chats on the site, viewers often ask gamers the name of the song playing behind their video. The answer Darude – Sandstorm became so common that by 2013 users were giving it as a generic response for all songs. For instance, a commenter might ask, “What’s the song name at :30?” only to be met with Darude – Sandstorm, regardless of the actual song. The joke jumped from gaming communities to become a meme in broader internet culture.
Suggesting how pervasive the meme had become, a 2014 Urban Dictionary entry defined Darude – Sandstorm as “the name of every song in existence.” And a YouTube video from that same year parodied the Darude – Sandstorm meme by portraying a young man who’s only capable of saying the words Darude – Sandstorm.
As a nod to the meme, on April Fools’ Day 2015 YouTube added a button to its videos that allowed viewers to play Darude’s “Sandstorm” over whatever video they were watching. Extending the prank, YouTube also responded with “Did you mean: Darude – Sandstorm by Darude” after every search on its site.
Who uses Darude – Sandstorm?
While largely used as a harmless in-joke on the internet, Darude – Sandstorm is sometimes used as very mild way of trolling people who earnestly want to find out the name of a song or other title (like the name of a film). A YouTuber, for example, might post a song but neglect to specify its title. In the comments, a curious viewer might ask for that title, only for a respondent to trick them by falsely identifying it as Darude – Sandstorm. This meme is especially used to tease posters who solicit titles by asking questions with vague musical approximations like: “What’s the song that goes DOO DOO DOO DEE DUH DOO DOO?” Sometimes the answer will also be an intentional misspelling or wordplay on Darude – Sandstorm, such as Dardune – Sandstorm, eatglue - sandcorn, and Explude - Bombstorm.
“When Darude - Sandstorm comes on in any twitch stream it literally makes my day. The chat blows up.”
Nick @ArtillerySr Twitter (December 20, 2013)
“'There is only one song on this earth- Darude Sandstorm'”
pink ranger @kimlesno Twitter (March 17, 2017)
“Even on my own YouTube channel, I might have answered a couple times 'It is Darude - Sandstorm, it's in the description' you know? And I probably got a couple of smirks because, y'know, I fell for it!”
Darude (Ville Virtanen), “Darude on Making the Only Song in eSports,” Red Bull (April 2, 2015)