Scorpions frontman Klaus Meine has shot down an increasingly popular conspiracy theory that the band's global 1990 hit "Wind of Change" was part of a late-Cold War CIA propaganda operation.
Wind of Change host and New Yorker journalist Patrick Radden Keefe began an investigation into the song this year after hearing a second-hand story about it from a friend and former CIA employee.
The theory states that the song "Wind of Change" was meant to encourage a democratic shift among citizens of the Soviet Union. The tune was supposedly written by the CIA and given to Scorpions to record and release, on account of their immense popularity in both the Western world and in the Soviet Union.
Meine tells Eddie Trunk that the first time he heard the theory was when Keefe interviewed him earlier this year. The singer says Keefe traveled all the way from New York City to Germany just to meet with him to gauge his reaction to the CIA angle.
"In the middle of the interview, he goes like, 'Klaus, you ever heard the story that 'Wind of Change' was written by the CIA?'" Meine recalled. "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 out now."
He added that the theory is a "fascinating idea, and it's an entertaining idea, but it's not true at all."
Meine has always said that he wrote the lyrics to "Wind of Change" with the experience of performing the 1989 Moscow Music Peace Festival fresh in his mind.
The song was released as a single about six months after the demolition of the Berlin Wall commenced. It is one of the best-selling singles of all-time and holds a record for the best-selling single ever by a German artist. The band was even presented a gold record for the song by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev himself.
Keefe says its ultimately up to listeners to draw conclusions about the origins of "Wind of Change," based on the facts and interviews he presents on the podcast.
Whatever the truth is, he told Deadline that he had "so much fun pursuing the crazy story over the course of a year, exploring the dark byways of Cold War history and doing nearly a hundred interviews in four countries with rockers and spies."
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