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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.

14 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

2020-05-1141:4795

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
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? 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

2020-06-0142:5435

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

2020-06-0839:2236

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

2020-06-1555:0545

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

2020-06-2245:1728

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

2020-06-2949:5432

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

2020-07-0601:301

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
Everything was going great for Jason Rezaian. He was The Washington Post’s correspondent in Tehran. He had just gotten married. Then, in July of 2014, Jason and his wife were arrested and thrown in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. This is the first episode of 544 Days, a new podcast from Gimlet, Crooked Media, and A24. Find the rest of story for free at gimlet.media/544days. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Patrick has a new book that's just out, Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks. It's twelve strange but true stories of skulduggery and intrigue. Listen to an exclusive excerpt from the audiobook, narrated by Patrick, about the flamboyant, un-catchable arms trafficker known as the Prince of Marbella. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When Patrick Radden Keefe heard that the Scorpions were coming to town last month, he knew he had to go to the show. So he called his friend Michael, his source for the original CIA conspiracy theory, and they headed to UBS Arena on Long Island, microphones in hand. Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, the song Wind of Change has taken on new meaning -- and new lyrics, courtesy of lead-singer Klaus Meine. Patrick wanted to feel first hand how the powerful ballad of hope sounded in this new context of Russian aggression.  We're also raising funds for medical supplies in Ukraine and encourage you to join us in giving to United24. The link is here:  https://u24.gov.ua/ This episode was recorded in late September. Given the recent attacks in Ukraine we especially encourage you to donate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Chapter 1: Bug’s Plan. It’s 2014. Adelanto is a bankrupt city in the California desert known for its massive detention centers and not much else. Then, a stranger comes to town with a wild idea to make Adelanto great again: Become the first city in Southern California to legalize commercial weed cultivation. Subscribe to Dreamtown to hear episode two right now, wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Comments (29)

Judi Carolina

well...I have a comment...🥱 but I did get my housework done.

Dec 23rd
Reply

Judi Carolina

I'm going to preservere with this story because I told a friend I would. I detest dual host podcasts because of the excessive dribble and inane laughter.

Dec 1st
Reply

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
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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
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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
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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 (5)