Fake news and conspiracies are everywhere right now, but a new podcast has really peaked our interest as it centers around whether the CIA actually composed the #1 worldwide song for Scorpions, “Wind of Change.” Say what?
Released in 1990, “Wind of Change” became one of the biggest selling singles ever, racking up over 15 million copies sold, and giving Scorpions the biggest German single of all-time. After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the song celebrated glasnost in the Soviet Union and spoke to the hopes of ending the Cold War. It is perhaps the biggest song in Europe and especially Eastern Europe, ever. Recently, it was alleged in a new podcast, that the song was in fact written by the CIA to destabilize a failing Soviet Union.
In the eight-part podcast, writer and investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe digs into a rumor that’s circulated in CIA circles that American intelligence officers wrote the power ballad as a tool to help end the Cold War. And if you’re thinking that Mr. Keefe is just some small-time rock journalist with an adoration of hard rock, think again. According to his Wikipedia bio, Mr. Keefe received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, earned a law degree from Yale Law School, an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University, and an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics. We don’t even know what all those abbreviations mean, but we do know that he’s a staff writer at the New Yorker and a serious journalist.
He says, “I’ve always been pretty passionate about music and I’ve always been really into spy stories — whether it’s le Carré or Eric Ambler. So for me, the idea that these two very discrete universes that I very much enjoy but that I’d never really thought of as bedfellows had converged in this way was just irresistible.”
“But the biggest thing was that I started looking into how plausible something like this would be. I started going into the history of the cultural Cold War, and the history of the song itself, and all the way along, right up until the experience of talking to a whole lot of ex-spies, and some of the other big interviews in the podcast, where it’s not just people saying, ‘I want to believe that this is true,’ they’re saying, ‘Yes, absolutely.’”
“Without mentioning any names, I got an email yesterday from a very, very, very senior former White House official who personally worked on influence operations, and who wrote to me and said, ‘I don’t know this story, but it’s 100 percent plausible. One hundred percent plausible.’”
On the other hand, lead singer Klaus Meine, who is credited with writing the song, said, “I thought it was very amusing and I just cracked up laughing. It’s a very entertaining and really crazy story but like I said, it’s not true at all. Like you American guys would say, it’s fake news.” Or is it?
Listen to the “Wind of Change” podcast here.