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Daft Hands is a one take video featuring a pair of hands decorated with lyrics from the song “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk. In the video, the hands move to form the lyrics in time with the music.
On June 6th, 2007, Austin Hall uploaded a video titled “Daft Hands – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” to his “FrEckleStudios” YouTube channel. The video description claimed that it was recorded in one take without any editing other than the words written on the introduction slide. In less than five years, the video had received over 53 million views and 175,000 comments.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
On October 13th, 2001, the song “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, which sampled Edwin Birdsong’s “Cola Bottle Baby”, was released as a single by Daft Punk for the album Discovery. In 2009, a live version won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. On October 11th, 2011, the music blog NME ranked the song at 132 in an list of “150 Best Tracks of the Part 15 Years.”
On June 19th, 2007, the video reached the front page of the social news site Digg in a post titled “Girl gives Daft Punk’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ a handjob!” On August 30th, the video was posted on the entertainment blog Brooklyn Vegan. On September 14th, Hall appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he performed the Daft Hands dance in front of a live audience.
On February 10th, 2008, Newgrounds user PJJMDCC submitted a flash game titled “Daft Hands – Interactive”, in which the player controlled a cartoon hand by pressing corresponding keys to mimic the original dance. On May 23rd, 2008, the alternative rock band Weezer uploaded the music video for their song “Pork and Beans”, which included a reference to Daft Hands as well as other Internet phenomena.
On September 3rd, 2009, the Internet culture blog Urlesque published an article listing Daft Hands as the 46th most iconic Internet video of all time. On March 29th, 2010, the news publication Time Magazine listed Daft Hands as one of YouTube’s 50 best videos of all time, mentioning that it had accumulated nearly 40 million views.
ROFLCon III Appearance
On May 4th, 2012, Hall spoke on the “Life After The Meme” panel at the ROFLCon III Internet culture conference with Christian Lander (Stuff White People Like), Ben Schulz (Leeroy Jenkins), Kyle MacDonald (One Red Paperclip). During the panel, he revealed that he was given a job on the Cheezburger site Memebase after making the Daft Hands video.
Several other YouTubers uploaded their own Daft Hands videos, some of which used songs other than the original Daft Punk track.
On November 23rd, 2007, the official Daft Punk YouTube channel uploaded a one take video titled “Daft Bodies – Harder Better Faster Stronger”, which featured two women dancing in their underwear with the “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” lyrics written on their bodies. The video accumulated over 14 million views within five years. On January 22nd, 2009, Urlesque published a round-up of Daft Bodies imitation videos in an article titled “The 7 Best Daft Bodies – Half Naked Daft Punk Tributes.”