Scorpions Singer Says That the CIA Didn’t Write “Wind of Change”
Yesterday saw the debut of all eight episodes of Wind of Change, a new podcast in which New Yorker journalist Patrick Radden Keefe investigates the rumor that the CIA wrote “Wind of Change,” the Scorpions’ 1990 megahit that preceded the collapse of of the Soviet Union and Berlin Wall a year later. Keefe claims he heard the rumor from a source with the CIA, who have proven to have meddled in cultural affairs in the past, so while on the one hand the story seems too ridiculous to be true, well… look, crazier things have happened, right?
But in a new interview with Eddie Trunk’s SiriuXM’s Trunk Nation featuring Eddie Trunk, Scorpions singer Klaus Meine, who has always maintained that he wrote the lyrics after playing the Moscow Music Peace Festival in 1989, claims the rumor is B.S.:
“Earlier this year, I did an interview. I think his name was Patrick Keefe. He came all the way from New York City over here to Germany for an interview with me. And Matthias [Jabs, guitar] did a phoner later, I guess. And it was about the Moscow Music Peace Festival, about ‘Wind of Change,’ but this is what this interview was all about. He used to write for printouts like New Yorker and stuff — he’s a great guy, and very sympathetic and a really nice guy. And in the middle of the interview, he goes, like, ‘Klaus, you ever heard the story that ‘Wind of Change’ was written by the CIA?’ And I cracked up laughing — I totally cracked up laughing. I said to him, ‘So, my friend, you think you make an interview with a songwriter or you think you make an interview with a spy?’ [Laughs] It was pretty bizarre. And then I learned the story. This was all about the podcast that would come out in May, which is now.”
Meine went on to say that the story is “a fascinating idea, and it’s an entertaining idea, but it’s not true at all,” ultimately using Donald Trump’s favorite phrase to dismiss the gossip:
“[W]hen he told me about the CIA, I realized that he was very serious about it, and he [spent] some serious time to get to this point and, at the end of the day, to even make an interview with the songwriter of ‘Wind of Change.’ 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.”
And while you might think that settles that, consider this: Meine, Jabs, guitarist Rudolf Schenker, bassist Francis Buchholz, and drummer Herman Rarebell — the Scorpions who were in the band in 1990 — are perhaps the least reliable sources when it comes to this story. Because of course they have to deny any CIA involvement; to do otherwise would likely be to endanger themselves. Even if it has been thirty years since this all happened… and even if most of the people who were in the CIA then aren’t in the CIA now… I can’t imagine the CIA would be happy about Meine saying “Yeah, it’s true” if it actually is true. Which is to say nothing of how certain former KGB operatives — like, say, the one currently running Russia — might react.
I’m not saying the CIA did write “Wind of Change.” I’m just saying that to prove they didn’t, we’d need to hear it from a source other than Meine.
You can listen to the entire Wind of Change podcast below and decide for yourself.