IT was the early 1990s power ballad that served as a soundtrack to the fall of the iron curtain and the fading embers of the Cold War, but was ‘Wind of Change’ written by the CIA?


Wind of Change?

The power ballad, with an iconic whistled intro, was a global smash in 1990 for West German rock band, Scorpions, recorded for their 11th album, and is always said to have been written by the band's lead singer, Klaus Meine. It is one of the world's best-selling singles, with 14 million copies sold.


It’s lyrics…?

Released shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and just before the break-up of the Soviet Union, the lyrics speak of a new era: “The world is closing in, did you ever think that we could be so close, like brothers? Distant memories are buried in the past forever.” Meine sings of following the Moskva River down to Gorky Park, a central park in Moscow, “listening to the wind of change”.


The video?

It was an MTV regular in the 1990s. It features the rock band on stage, cheered by an audience waving lighters en masse, interspersed with clips of key moments of change from world history.


The wall?

The video begins with footage of the construction of the Berlin Wall and in a 2016 book about the band, Meine said of the track: “It's an anthem to historical changes. Here in our country, when the Berlin Wall came down, so many people, in the East and West ... consider it the soundtrack to this very historical moment. So, that's a very important song.”



A new podcast by US journalist, Patrick Radden Keefe, titled ‘Wind of Change’, explores a rumour he heard a decade ago that the song was written by the CIA. The podcast - which has the tagline ‘Spies, secrets, Soviets and tight leather pants’, follows clues around the world, from speaking to Scorpions fans at a concert in Russia, to trying to get former CIA operatives to confirm the tale on what he says is a “journey to find the truth”.


But why would the CIA step into songwriting?

A different world back then, Keefe highlights the sense that "the Soviet Union was going to last forever" and that the "CIA needed to do everything they could to undermine that". So, in a nutshell, propaganda.


Despite the conspiracy theory…

In a US radio interview last week, Meine said simply that, "It's a very entertaining and really crazy story, but like I said, it's not true at all”.


Silver screen?

Sticking to his declaration the song was written after he noted the cultural shifts in Russia while visiting in 1989, two years after a previous trip, Meine sees the potential for a film. He said: “It’s a good idea for a movie. That would be cool. If the CIA had a song…to send a singer and...put it out behind the Iron Curtain, that would make sense…All of a sudden, half of Russia is whistling 'Wind of Change,' and they don't know why”.