Wind of Change (Scorpions song)
|"Wind of Change"|
|Single by Scorpions|
|from the album Crazy World|
|B-side||"Tease Me Please Me"|
|Format||CD single, CD maxi, 7" single|
|Genre||Rock, hard rock|
|Scorpions singles chronology|
"Wind of Change" is a power ballad written by Klaus Meine, vocalist of German rock band Scorpions. It appeared on their 1990 album Crazy World, but did not become a worldwide hit single until 1991 — just after the failed coup that collapsed the Soviet Communist party — when it topped the charts in Germany and across Europe and hit No. 4 in the United States and No. 2 in the United Kingdom. It later appeared on the band's 1995 live album Live Bites, their 2000 album with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Moment of Glory, and on their 2001 unplugged album Acoustica.
Worldwide, the single has sold millions of copies, making it one of the best selling singles of all time; a common number given is 14 million copies sold. It holds the record for the best-selling single by a German artist and band over songs like Sun of Jamaica and is probably slightly behind Yes Sir, I Can Boogie in the race for "best selling modern song composed by Germans".
The band also recorded a Russian-language version of the song, under the title "Ветер перемен" ("Veter Peremen") and a Spanish version called "Vientos de Cambio". The band presented a gold record of the single to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991.
Background and writing
The lyrics celebrate Glasnost in the USSR, the end of the Cold War, and talks about hope when tense conditions arose due to the fall of Communist-run governments among Eastern Bloc nations beginning in 1989.
The Scorpions were inspired to write the song on a visit to Moscow in 1989, and the opening lines refer to the city's landmarks:
- I follow the Moskva
- Down to Gorky Park
- Listening to the wind of change
The Moskva is the name of the river that runs through Moscow (both the city and the river are named identically in Russian), and Gorky Park is an amusement park in Moscow named after Maxim Gorky, a famous communist writer.
The song also contains a reference to the Russian folk instrument the balalaika, which is a string instrument somewhat like a guitar. The balalaika is mentioned in the following verse:
- For peace of mind
- Let your balalaika sing
- What my guitar wants to say
In 2005, viewers of the German television network ZDF chose this song as the song of the century. It is the highest selling song ever in Germany, reputedly selling over 6 million copies in that country alone, and is frequently played on television shows presenting video footage of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Germany, it is remembered as the song of German reunification and a message of hope.
Uses of the song
- Plays in a scene from the 2010 movie Gentlemen Broncos, when main character Benjamin Purvis walks out of a bookshop with his date.
- Popular UK football show Soccer AM uses "Wind of Change" as its tribute to UK troops overseas.
- It also features in the video game SingStar Rocks! and has been added as a downloadable content from the SingStore.
- The song was featured in the episode "Chuck Versus the Seduction Impossible" of the TV show Chuck.
- In series 15, episode 2 of Top Gear, the song can be heard during the introduction of The Stig's "German cousin".
- In the independent film In Search of a Midnight Kiss (distributed by IFC in summer 2008), writer/director Alex Holdridge has characters in the film sing an impromptu version of "Wind of Change" as the movie concludes in celebration of the main character's changing fortune, and as the credits start to roll. Austin, Texas-based rock band Sybil performs a cover of the song.
- The song was used in the Berlin Wall trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops.
- Hong Kong pop singer Alan Tam included a Cantonese version of the song called "再等幾天" (English: "Wait a few More Days") in his 1992 album Lover.
Charts and sales
End of year charts
- Rateyourmusic, 14 mio
- Phil Brodie, 14 mio
- German Rock Band Scorpions of ‘Wind of Change’ Fame to Break Up Bloomberg
- "Australian-charts.com – Scorpions – Wind of Change". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
- "Scorpions – Wind of Change – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
- "Ultratop.be – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "Lescharts.com – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in French). Les classement single.
- "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
- Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Scorpions search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
- "Charts.org.nz – Scorpions – Wind of Change". Top 40 Singles.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Scorpions – Wind of Change". VG-lista.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Scorpions – Wind of Change". Singles Top 60.
- "Scorpions – Wind of Change – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
- UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
- Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved August 8, 2008)
- 1991 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
- 1991 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
- "Single top 100 over 1991" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- 1991 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
- "Billboard Top 100 – 1991". Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- Austrian certifications ifpi.at (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
- French certifications Infodisc.fr (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Wind+of+Change')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
- UK certifications Bpi.co.uk (Retrieved August 8, 2008)
- U.S. certifications riaa.com (Retrieved April 20, 2008)