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 • 4.1K 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
4.1K Ratings

4.1K Ratings

AtticusK ,

Powerful and gripping. Well done, Patrick!

I just finished this at the recommendation of my brother. We are both state department brats who lived in Germany from 1976 to 1981. Both of us, rather than going to the American school were placed into Gymnasium. So we got completely absorbed into German culture. You don't know how fascinating it was to hear all this. I've always felt a strong admiration for and connection to the Scorpions. I believe it was 1994 when the Scorps came to Dallas. I was playing in various cover bands and was writing my own music. I heard that the Scorpions were hosting a backstage party at a local restaurant so I drove down there and bribed somebody $20 to let me behind the ropes. The only way I could think to get the band's attention was to wear my Deutschland Weltmeister T-shirt and walk up to Rudy and greet him in German. He appeared to be a huge soccer fan so we hit it off. And then I got to speak to Klaus who was such a genuine article. They signed that T-shirt, which I sure hope my wife hasn't thrown away. I can't seem to locate it. Anyway, as a lover of the spy genre, this podcast held me completely spellbound. When my parents returned for another tour of duty to Germany in 1990, my brother and I rode an America military train through East Germany to Berlin and when we got out, we heard the clinking of hammers and chisels as people were ripping out pieces of the wall. My brother still has a piece of the wall with graffiti on it displayed in his front hallway. Sorry, I ramble. This is one of the best podcasts I've ever listened to. Thank you, Patrick for your tireless pursuit of all the threads that led to the amazing patchwork of a story. It is so well crafted and so well narrated. I can't wait to hear what else you have done! Atticus (or as I go by my parody-alter-ego on social media, "Franz Ferkelduft" where I pay homage to the Scorps)

uhhh nikki ,

Infuriating

The best part of this podcast were the tangents about CIA history unrelated to the main storyline.

The host seems to pursue this conspiracy theory that he allegedly heard from a friend who heard it from an anonymous ex-spy who heard it from another former CIA agent. This third-hand conspiracy launches a podcast and spurs him to keep saying “this story is told throughout the agency”…

Honestly, it is an interesting concept but spotty reporting.

SheaMMMMM ,

Gen X Approved

Fascinating tale involving one of my all-time favorite bands, The Scorps. So incredibly well done and thought provoking. I have tickets to their rescheduled residency in Vegas this spring and I’m looking forward to it even more after this podcast!

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