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Wind of Change

Author: Pineapple Street Studios / Crooked Media / Spotify

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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.

12 Episodes
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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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
1. My Friend Michael

1. My Friend Michael

2020-05-1142:4680

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
4. The KGB Rock Club

4. The KGB Rock Club

2020-06-0143:0923

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
5. I Follow The Moskva

5. I Follow The Moskva

2020-06-0839:3823

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
6. The Doctor Is In

6. The Doctor Is In

2020-06-1555:5735

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
7. Rorschach

7. Rorschach

2020-06-2245:1120

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
8. Hello, Klaus

8. Hello, Klaus

2020-06-2949:4924

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Out Now: Bonus Episodes

Out Now: Bonus Episodes

2020-07-0650:241

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." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
It’s 1987, and the Chippendales dancers are packing nightclubs across America with their sold-out male exotic dance shows. As crowds of women scream for the mullets, the spandex, and the tans … a shocking event about to change the course of the brand and its booming business forever.  This is a sneak peek of Episode 1 of Welcome to Your Fantasy. To hear full episodes, every week, follow and listen for free at spoti.fi/WelcomeToYourFantasy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
While he was working on Wind of Change, Patrick Radden Keefe was also researching and writing a new book, a sweeping investigative chronicle about the billionaire Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was ruined by OxyContin. This excerpt from the audiobook, narrated by Keefe, tells the little known story of a massive chemical explosion at a plant owned by the Sacklers. Already hailed as one of the most anticipated nonfiction books of 2021, Empire of Pain has just been released and is now available for purchase, as a book or audiobook. More information, and links to buy, here:  https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/612861/empire-of-pain-by-patrick-radden-keefe/ Audio excerpted courtesy Penguin Random House Audio from Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe, read by the author and available wherever audiobooks are sold. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Comments (26)

Derek Manning

I enjoyed this podcast. Sadly, America is becoming the Soviet Union. The lessons of Wind of Change has been lost. Based on the snarky attitude of the narrator/writer, I'm not surprised.

Mar 12th
Reply

Cate O'Connell

"Chewing tobacco & spitting it into a bottle"🤮 Oh so classy🙄

Feb 16th
Reply

April

I was thinking it might be true but now after listening to Klaus I think the CIA just wants to take credit for the impact of this song.

Nov 16th
Reply

Amy C Campbell

So, just gettin started on this story and even I could probably use the little info you've given to figure out your source, HAHAHA! I'm highly interested so far, well done.

Sep 28th
Reply

Br0wnie

Great interview with frontman Klaus Meine of Scorpions!! I believes Klaus comes across as a very genuine, down to Earth, kind individual. I'm definitely a fan!

Sep 19th
Reply

Cheri Anderson Phillips

good god. this sounds like it was made by high schoolers. I couldn't stick with this long enough to understand what the story is.

Sep 5th
Reply (1)

Jess Hart

He's so nice!

Jul 19th
Reply (1)

Jess Hart

He's so nice!

Jul 19th
Reply

Wiley Cordone

“That’s 24 year old Snake. On a plane.”

Jul 13th
Reply

Muthoni

I loved this!

Jul 4th
Reply

Zack Campbell

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

Jun 30th
Reply

Kelly Cuneo

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

Jun 27th
Reply

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
Reply

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
Reply

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
Reply (1)

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
Reply

MrTrekfan

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

May 19th
Reply

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 (4)

Yasmine C

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

May 14th
Reply
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