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Wind of Change

Author: Pineapple Street Studios / Crooked Media / Spotify

Subscribed: 9,442Played: 83,252


It’s 1990. The Berlin Wall just fell. The Soviet Union is on the verge of collapse. And the soundtrack to the revolution is one of the best selling songs of all time, the metal ballad “Wind of Change,” by the Scorpions.

Decades later, journalist Patrick Radden Keefe heard a rumor: the song wasn’t written by the Scorpions. It was written by the CIA. This is his journey to find the truth.

Wind of Change is an Original Series from Pineapple Street Studios, Crooked Media and Spotify.

10 Episodes
A power ballad helped bring down the Soviet Union. Was it written by the CIA? Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe investigates the secret history of Cold War espionage and heavy metal. Wind Of Change is an Original Series from Pineapple Street Studios, Crooked Media and Spotify.
1. My Friend Michael

1. My Friend Michael


LANGLEY, VIRGINIA, 2011: The Scorpions’ song “Wind of Change” became the soundtrack to the end of the Cold War. But decades later, New Yorker investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe heard a rumor from a trusted source: the Scorpions didn’t write the song. The CIA did.
KIEV, UKRAINE, 2019: Patrick flies to Ukraine and witnesses how fully the political message of “Wind of Change” still resonates with fans at a Scorpions show in Kiev. Plus: what does the CIA say when you come right out and ask about the agency’s connection to the band?
LAGOS, NIGERIA, 1961: One of America’s most beloved singers died without ever knowing that during the Cold War she had been used by the CIA. And a 40-year-old mystery resurfaces: when the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was picked to tour behind the Iron Curtain in 1977, was an undercover CIA officer planted among their entourage?
4. The KGB Rock Club

4. The KGB Rock Club


LENINGRAD, USSR, 1988: Patrick finds another person who has told an eerily similar story about the Scorpions and the CIA. But he won’t answer emails, so Patrick travels to a GI Joe convention in Dayton, Ohio to try to make contact. Plus, a former CIA clandestine officer suggests there may be other musical acts still collaborating with the agency.
5. I Follow The Moskva

5. I Follow The Moskva


MOSCOW, USSR, 1989: Klaus Meine, the lead singer of the Scorpions, has said for 30 years that the Moscow Music Peace Festival in 1989 inspired him to write “Wind of Change.” Bon Jovi, booze, Ozzy Osbourne, cocaine, fireworks, fist fights, the KGB -- Patrick takes you step by step through the wildest music festival in Russian history. But something about the concert doesn’t add up.
6. The Doctor Is In

6. The Doctor Is In


CAYMAN ISLANDS, 1982: The Scorpions’ manager Doc McGhee has a secret past: he played a role in one of the largest drug busts in U.S. history, working with a smuggling ring that included CIA asset (and Panamanian dictator) Manuel Noriega. Nearly everyone went to prison. But Doc didn’t serve a day. Patrick heads to Naples, Florida, to find out why Doc threw a rock festival in Moscow instead of going to prison.
7. Rorschach

7. Rorschach


MOSCOW, RUSSIA, 2019: On a boat ride down the Moskva River, Patrick starts to fear that this entire podcast could itself be CIA propaganda. Or worse, Ksenia, his Russian fixer points out: propaganda by the successors to the KGB.
8. Hello, Klaus

8. Hello, Klaus


HANOVER, GERMANY, 2020: There is one last person Patrick needs to ask about “Wind of Change.” At a small hotel in sleepy Hanover, Germany, it is time to confront Klaus Meine about his biggest hit.
Thanks for listening to Wind of Change. We’ve made two additional episodes of the show — a pair of stories that we couldn’t fit into the main season of the podcast, but are so wild we had to share them with you. Both episodes are only available exclusively on Spotify. The first one is available right now. It’s called "The Love Song of Joanna Stingray." And next Monday, July 13, we’ll drop another episode, called "Rocking Venezuela."
Comments (11)


I loved this!

Jul 4th

Zack Campbell

A former CIA clandestine officer named "John Cypher"? No way that's his real name, LOL

Jun 30th

Kelly Cuneo

I love this podcast! I hope you plan to do more!

Jun 27th

Dave Smulders

well written. Radden Keefe is a great storyteller but ultimately this is an abominable waste of resources and skill. The translator who suggested this conspiracy theorizing represents a decay of free thinking is the truest voice in the show. Patrick, put your talents to good use and lose that asshole of a friend, Michael.

Jun 27th

Spencer Corning

I'm loving the show so far, but I have to say it's driving me nuts that you keep calling them "The Scorpions." It's just Scorpions.

Jun 9th

Gary McGehee

I Listen to a lot of podcasts and Wind of Change is one of the most compelling and well researched podcasts l have listened to.

Jun 3rd

lisa bradford

it did not come to a dramatic ending, but I listened to the whole podcast on spotify as well, and I have to say, I DID enjoy the ride to the finish line. it took me back to my childhood in the 1980's, which is maybe why i did enjoy it so much. but i was not a huge fan of the song before, but after digging into the history of the time as an adult i can understand the poignancy of the song more and I definitely appreciate it a lot more.

May 23rd


Just to add something, John Chambers also made Spock's ears for Star Trek

May 19th

Daniel J

After listening to the entire series on Spotify, two of the eight episodes were uninteresting and ultimately added nothing to the subject story. And although I never personally watched the television series 'Lost,' I'm pretty sure I'm feeling a similar disappointment as that show's viewers complained about when it was all over. If you skip this series, you won't have missed anything of significance.

May 17th
Reply (1)

Yasmine C

Say what?! Written by the CIA? Maybe that's why it sucks. Never liked that song to begin with.

May 14th
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