12 episodes

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.

Wind of Change Pineapple Street Studios / Crooked Media / Spotify

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 423 Ratings

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.

    My Friend Michael

    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.
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    • 45 min
    You Call It An Operation, We Call It A Performance

    You Call It An Operation, We Call It A Performance

    KYIV, 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 Kyiv. Plus: what does the CIA say when you come right out and ask about the agency’s connection to the band?
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    • 47 min
    America’s Secret Weapon

    America’s Secret Weapon

    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?
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    • 45 min
    The KGB Rock Club

    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.
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    • 47 min
    I Follow The Moskva

    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.
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    • 42 min
    The Doctor Is In

    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.
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    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
423 Ratings

423 Ratings

james heron ,

Great listen

Binged it on a run! Try getting that whistle out of your mind ears!

RottenD ,

Don’t bother

Compelled to write a review because of how horrid that was. Host seems to have gone to the conspiracy buzz word well to draw inspiration. Such great proof as “I trusted him because he seemed to trust the person who told him”, “its to insane not to be true”. 40 minutes and possibly 2 minutes of chat only on the actual subject, the other 38 minutes spent on juvenile ramblings on a Wikipedia level detail on spy craft. Great premise, insanely poorly executed.

I Approve This Opinion ,

The Scorpions are the unsung heroes of this story

Did the CIA write Klaus Meine’s hit anthem Winds of Change? Spoiler alert: No. While an initially intriguing premise & a reasonably entertaining journey down many tangential alleys in an attempt to ask & answer this question, the conclusion left me with a bad taste in my mouth. An American journalist prefers the myth, that the liars, cheats, assassins, drug dealers, & anti-democratic forces within the CIA, were somehow capable of writing a song that could ONLY come from the lived experience of someone like Meine. The blind adherence to the idea of American exceptionalism renders Patrick deaf to the real truth here. He (& his pals) have been so easily conned by people who would love to take credit for the song & its power & influence. They not only fell for it (left me wondering whether they’d be interested in buying the Sydney Harbour Bridge?), they find no evidence, no proof, no legit sources to verify the story but they leave the question out there AS THOUGH IT COULD BE TRUE, undermining the value & meaning of the song, the many achievements of Meine’s band The Scorpions and their rightful place in history.
Now, a podcast about The Scorpions? That would have been a blast. This one? Not cool. Not rock n roll. But unsurprisingly American. In that spirit, Klaus Meine should sue the f*%k out of the producers for the defamatory suggestion within the podcast that he’s a liar and a fraud.

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