Darude iconic anthem ‘Sandstorm’ turns 21 years old today
The year of 1999 was quite special for Europe. Not only because the Iron Curtain was lifted, but also because up North, a Finnish DJ/producer called Toni-Ville Henrik Virtanen, aka Darude released the song ‘Sandstorm’ by 16 Inch Records. Little did he know that 21 years later, it is still one of the most well-known dance classics in the world, with almost 400 million plays on Youtube and Spotify combined.The story of this iconic synth melody that almost anyone can recognize began a bit earlier. As he told to Vibe in an interview:
“Two years before I released the ‘Sandstorm’ track, I actually made the melody. You know, the dun-dun-dun, din-din”.
A fellow producer from Finland and founder of 19 Inch Records, JS16 helped Darude with the production, and made sure that this trance hit would eventually conquer the dancefloors and radio stations worldwide. Besides ‘Sandstorm’, JS16 is best known for working with the Finnish hip-hop group Bomfunk MC’s, producing their most successful song ‘Freestyler’ the same year. Talking about the milestone he created, Darude said:
“It got my professional career started. I don’t want to only be known as the ‘Sandstorm’ guy, but I’m not dumb or oblivious to how the world works. If you’re not into dance music but you actually know my track, that’s good enough for me.”
The track reached No. 5 on the Dance Club Songs chart and No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2000. It gained even more popularity and ascended to the 25th place of Billboard’s chart in 2015, after the Esports streaming community embraced the song as their anthem and gamers began to label every song they heard “Darude – Sandstorm” during Youtube and Twitch streams.
Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t stop making music with ‘Sandstorm’. After dropping 4 studio albums, dozens of remixes and singles, such as ‘Timeless’ in 2018, Darude proved his versatility, ranging from big-room to trance, all the way to progressive house and secured his place in the history of electronic music.
Image Credit: Darude – Sandstorm (Official Music Video)