Wind of Change

Wind of Change

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.

Episodes

April 25, 2020 3 min

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.

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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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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?

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May 25, 2020 45 min

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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June 1, 2020 47 min

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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June 8, 2020 42 min

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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June 15, 2020 58 min

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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June 22, 2020 46 min

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.

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June 29, 2020 51 min

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.

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July 6, 2020 1 min

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...

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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.

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