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Hampster Dance

"Hampster Dance"
File:Hampster Dance single.jpg
Single by Hampton the Hampster
from the album The Hampsterdance Album
Released July 3, 2000
Format CD single
Recorded 1999
Genre Eurodance
Length 3:34
Label ZYX Music
Writer(s) Roger Miller
R. DeBoer
A. Grace
Producer(s) The Boomtang Boys
Hampton the Hampster singles chronology

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The Hampster Dance or Hampsterdance is a song by Hampton the Hampster. It was released in July 2000, as a single. It was produced by The Boomtang Boys, recreating the Roger Miller hook and adding additional rap-style lyrics.

The single, whose commercially released version featured a sound-a-like sample (the band having failed to gain permission to use the original), along with a number of other short voice samples from classic B-movies forming an abstract vocal line in lieu of a regular lyric, peaked at number 4 on the Christmas 1999 UK singles chart.[1] In 2005, CNET named the Hampster Dance the number-one web fad.[2] In 2010, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked the "official" Hampsterdance song at number 79 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever, stating that "This annoying-on-purpose, chipmunks-on-speed bit of nonsense was the grandfather of today's 'Rickroll.'"[3]

It is one of the earliest examples of an Internet meme. Created by Canadian art student Deidre LaCarte for a Geocities page, the dance features rows of animated hamsters and other rodents dancing in various ways to a sped-up sample from the song "Whistle Stop" by Roger Miller.


File:Hampster dance.gif
Screen capture of original Hampster Dance.

Canadian art student Deidre LaCarte from Nanaimo, British Columbia, who was competing with her best friend and sister to see who could generate the most traffic, designed the Hampster Dance in August 1998 as homage to her pet hamster, named "Hampton Hamster."[4][5] Using four simple animated GIFs of hamsters and other rodents, repeated dozens of times each, and a loop of background music embedded in the HTML, at the time a fairly new browser feature, she named the site Hampton's Hamster House and had Hampton declare his intent to become a "web star". Initially, the website consisted of a single page with four hamsters and other rodents, later redesigned and dubbed Hampton, Dixie, Hado, and Fuzzy. Over the next few years, alternate versions of the Hampsterdance appeared, such as for birthdays, where the hamsters are slightly modified to hold presents.

The clip, a 9-second looped WAV file, was taken from a sped-up recording of Roger Miller's "Whistle Stop", a song written for the 1973 Disney animated feature film Robin Hood.[5]

Until January 1999, only 800 visits were recorded (about 4 per day), but without warning, the number jumped to 15,000 per day. The web site spread by e-mail, early blogs, and bumper stickers, and was eventually even featured in a television commercial for Internet service provider EarthLink. It became a common office prank to set a co-worker's browser homepage to the website, which led to televised news reports furthering popularity to an international level. The continued popularity of the site led LaCarte to a professional redesign, and the addition of an online store for T-shirts and CDs of "Hamster" music.

LaCarte failed to register the Hampsterdance name, and for some time the domain was owned by humor business Nutty Sites. Initially, was used, and later Fans of the site created variations on the original dance, using politicians such as Dan Quayle and Cynthia McKinney as well as household objects such as Pez dispensers and lung X-rays.

Charts and sales

In Canada, the "official" Hampster Dance song was released as a single, featuring a trance music backing. The video was declared worst or cheesiest video of the year by MuchMusic in the one-hour special Fromage 2001. The song reached number-one on the Canadian Singles Chart while peaking at number 32 on the RPM charts. In Australia, "The Hampster Dance Song" was also released in 2001, credited to Hampton the Hampster. The song reached number 5 on the ARIA singles chart and spun off follow-up releases and videos, such as "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" (a cover of the John Denver song, reaching number 12) and "Hampster Party" (reaching number 44).[6] It also reached number 70 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs charts.[5]

Peak positions

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Chart (2000-2001) Peak
Canada (Canadian Singles Chart)[8] 1
Canada Top Singles (RPM).[9] 32
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[11] 4
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi Singles Sales[12] 4
US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks[12] 70


  1. ^ BBC: Festive Fifty 1999
  2. ^ Top 10 Web fads - from CNET
  3. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (September 11, 2010). "100 Worst Songs Ever -- Part Two of Five". AOL Radio. Retrieved December 20, 2010. 
  4. ^ Hamsters, You've Got Mail! Sun Sentinel
  5. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 180. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  6. ^ - Hampton The Hamster - The Hampsterdance Song
  7. ^ " – Hampton the Hampster – The Hampsterdance Song". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  8. ^
  9. ^ RPM peak
  10. ^ " – Hampton the Hampster – The Hampsterdance Song". GfK Entertainment.
  11. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved August 12, 2009)
  12. ^ a b Billboard [[[:Template:Allmusic]]] (Retrieved April 29, 2009)

External links