Wind of Change (Scorpions song)

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"Wind of Change"
Wind of change2.jpg
Single cover
Single by Scorpions
from the album Crazy World
B-side
  • "Restless Nights" (Europe)
  • "Money and Fame" (US, Canada)
Released21 January 1991 (1991-01-21)[1]
Recorded1990
Studio
Genre
Length
  • 5:13 (album version)
  • 3:44 (radio edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)Klaus Meine
Producer(s)
Scorpions singles chronology
"Don't Believe Her"
(1990)
"Wind of Change"
(1991)
"Send Me an Angel"
(1991)
Music video
"Wind of Change" on YouTube

"Wind of Change" is a song by West German rock band Scorpions, recorded for their eleventh studio album, Crazy World (1990). The power ballad[4] was composed and written by the band's lead singer Klaus Meine and produced by Keith Olsen and the band. The lyrics were composed by Meine following the band's visit to the Soviet Union at the height of perestroika, when the enmity between the communist and capitalist blocs subsided concurrently with the promulgation of large-scale socioeconomic reforms in the Soviet Union.

"Wind of Change" was released as the album's third single on 21 January 1991 and became a worldwide hit, just after the failed coup that would eventually lead to the end of the Soviet Union. The song topped the charts in Germany and across Europe and peaked at number four in the United States and at number two 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. The band also recorded a Russian-language version of the song, under the title "Ветер перемен" ("Veter Peremen")[5] and a Spanish version called "Vientos de Cambio" "(Winds of Change)".

With estimated sales of 14 million copies sold worldwide, "Wind of Change" is one of the best-selling singles of all time.[6] It holds the record for the best-selling single by a German artist. The band presented a gold record and $70,000 of royalties from the single to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, with Soviet news sources claiming the money would be allocated to children's hospitals.[7]

Background and writing[edit]

Klaus Meine said in an interview that the time 1988/1989 in the Soviet Union was characterized by the mood that the Cold War was coming to an end, the music was the unifying factor between the peoples.[8] The memories of this time are also transported in the music video for the song.[9] Meine was inspired by his participation in the Moscow Music Peace Festival on 13 August 1989, at Lenin Stadium, where the Scorpions performed in front of about 300,000 fans:[4][10]

Die Idee dazu ist mir in der U.d.S.S.R. gekommen, als ich in einer Sommernacht im Gorki Park Center saß und auf die Moskwa geblickt habe. Das Lied ist meine persönliche Aufarbeitung dessen, was in den letzten Jahren in der Welt passiert ist.

The idea came to me in the U.S.S.R. when I was sitting in the Gorky Park Center one summer night, looking at the Moskva River. The song is my personal reappraisal of what has happened in the world in recent years.

— Klaus Meine, Friede, Freude, Hasch und Perestroika, in: Rocks. Das Magazin für Classic Rock, Heft 01.2014, S. 88

The lyrics celebrate glasnost in the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and speak of hope at a time when tense conditions had arisen due to the fall of Communist-run governments among Eastern Bloc nations beginning in 1989.[4] The opening lines refer to the city of Moscow'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 urban park in Moscow named after the writer Maxim Gorky. The song also contains a reference to the balalaika, which is a Russian stringed instrument somewhat like a guitar. The balalaika is mentioned in the following lines:

Let your balalaika sing
What my guitar wants to say

Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker are owners of the trade mark Wind of Change.[11]

Composition[edit]

"Wind of Change" opens with a clean guitar introduction played by Matthias Jabs, which is played alongside Klaus Meine's flat whistle.[12] The song's guitar solo is played by Rudolf Schenker.[citation needed]

Claim of CIA creative input[edit]

The song is the subject of the podcast Wind of Change, released 11 May 2020, which raises questions regarding the song's origin.[13][14][15] Patrick Radden Keefe, the New Yorker author and host of the podcast investigates the allegation that the song was written by or connected to the Central Intelligence Agency, citing a rumor originating allegedly from inside the agency. In a Sirius XM interview with Eddie Trunk on 13 May 2020, Meine stated "It's a fascinating idea, and it's an entertaining idea, but it's not true at all".[16][17]

Legacy[edit]

The song became associated with the Revolutions of 1989 and the Fall of the Berlin Wall also in 1989 and was performed by the Scorpions at the Brandenburg Gate on 9 November 1999, during the 10th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.[18][19] In 2005, viewers of the German television network ZDF chose this song as the song of the century.[4] "Wind of Change" is featured in the films In Search of a Midnight Kiss (2007), Gentlemen Broncos (2009), The Interview (2014), and Love Island (2014), and the video game SingStar Rocks! (2006). The song can be heard in the opening scene of the action comedy film The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018). The song is also featured in television shows Melrose Place, Chuck, and Car Share and Nutri Ventures parody version. [20]

As of 2022, the Scorpions still perform the song live but with lyrical changes in light of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The opening lines are changed to "Now listen to my heart / It says Ukraine, waiting for the wind to change." Meine stated, "It's not the time with this terrible war in Ukraine raging on, it's not the time to romanticize Russia."[21]

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[55] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[56] Platinum 50,000*
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[57] Gold 45,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[58] Gold 400,000*
Germany (BVMI)[59] Platinum 500,000^
Italy (FIMI)[60]
sales since 2009
Platinum 70,000double-dagger
Russia (NFPF)[61]
Ringtone
Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[62] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[63] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Europe 21 January 1991 7-inch vinyl Mercury [1]
United Kingdom 20 May 1991
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
Vertigo [64]
24 June 1991 Cassette [65]
United Kingdom (re-release) 16 September 1991
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
[66]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  2. ^ Cochrane, Greg (14 December 2020). "The best new podcasts of 2020". NME. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  3. ^ Warnica, Richard (19 June 2020). "'Like a spy caper directed by the Coen brothers': A podcast about the CIA, the Cold War and rock and roll". National Post.
  4. ^ a b c d Bienstalk, Richard Scorpions' 'Wind of Change': The Oral History of 1990's Epic Power Ballad Rolling Stone. 4 September 2015
  5. ^ "Scorpions - Ветер перемен [Wind of Change] (Russian Version)". Retrieved 24 May 2022 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ "SCORPIONS: WIND OF CHANGE Der Wende-Hit". Hamburger Abendblatt. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2016. Von Jana-Sophie Brasseler 02.10.09
  7. ^ Bregestovski, Anton (15 December 1991). "Rock group meet Gorbachev". Upi.com. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  8. ^ SWR Online: Die „Scorpions" — Deutschlands erfolgreichster Rockexport; the interview could be heard on 14 May 2010 in SWR1 Leute (Baden-Wuerttemberg).
  9. ^ "Wind of Change". www.the-scorpions.com. Archived from the original on 13 November 2006. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  10. ^ Und jetzt alle zusammen!, einestages vom 6. Oktober 2010
  11. ^ "Trademark information for Wind Of Change from CTM – by Markify". 12 December 2013. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  12. ^ "Musikalischer Exportschlager". Derwesten.de. 17 February 2009.
  13. ^ "Did the CIA write a power ballad that ended the Cold War?". Crooked Media. 11 May 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  14. ^ Marks, Andrea (14 July 2020). "Could the CIA Have Planted Hair-Metal Propaganda During the Cold War?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Was a '90s Scorpions Song the Work of the C.I.A.? This Podcast Is on It". The New York Times. 8 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Klaus Meine from The Scorpions on if CIA wrote Wind of Change". @OfficialEddieTrunk | Youtube. 13 May 2020. Eddie Trunk interviews Klaus Meine from The Scorpions, Klaus talks about if the CIA wrote Winds of Change
  17. ^ "Scorpions singer Klaus Meine ended up the rumors that 'WInd of Change' was written by CIA". metalcastle.net. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  18. ^ "BBC News | Europe | Berlin anniversary ends with a bang". news.bbc.co.uk. 10 November 1999. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  19. ^ William Drozdiak (10 November 1999). "Ten Years After the Fall". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  20. ^ "IMDB – Scorpions". IMDb.com. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  21. ^ "SCORPIONS Singer KLAUS MEINE Explains 'Wind Of Change' Lyric Change: 'It's Not The Time To Romanticize Russia'". Blabbermouth.net. 11 April 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  22. ^ Wind of Change (European 7-inch single vinyl disc). Scorpions. Mercury Records. 1990. 878 832-7.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  23. ^ Wind of Change (European CD single disc notes). Scorpions. Mercury Records, Phonogram Inc. 1990. 878 833-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  24. ^ Wind of Change (UK CD single liner notes). Scorpions. Vertigo Records. 1991. VERCD58, 866 017-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  25. ^ Wind of Change (US & Canadian 7-inch single liner notes). Scorpions. Mercury Records. 1991. 868 180-7.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  26. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  27. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  28. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  29. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1570." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  30. ^ "Top 10 Denmark" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8, no. 30. 27 July 1991. p. 20. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  31. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8, no. 23. 8 June 1991. p. 21. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in French). Les classement single.
  33. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Wind of Change". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Scorpions" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  35. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  36. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change". Top 40 Singles.
  37. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change". VG-lista.
  38. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change". Singles Top 100.
  39. ^ "Scorpions – Wind of Change". Swiss Singles Chart.
  40. ^ "Scorpions: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  41. ^ "Scorpions Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  42. ^ "Scorpions Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Scorpions Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  44. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles for 1991". ARIA. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  45. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1991" (in German). Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  46. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1991" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  47. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1991". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  48. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 1991" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8, no. 51–52. 21 December 1991. p. 21. Retrieved 17 January 2020 – via World Radio History.
  49. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1991" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  50. ^ "Single top 100 over 1991" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  51. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1991" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  52. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1991" (in German). Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  53. ^ "1991 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 11 January 1992. p. 20.
  54. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1991". Archived from the original on 7 July 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  55. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1991 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  56. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  57. ^ "Danish single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  58. ^ "French single certifications – Scorpions – Wind Of Change" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 29 June 2020. Select SCORPIONS and click OK. 
  59. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Scorpions; 'Wind of Change')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  60. ^ "Italian single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 15 November 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Wind of Change" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  61. ^ "РОССИЙСКАЯ ИНДУСТРИЯ ЗВУКОЗАПИСИ - Год 2011 I полугодие" [Top 50 RBT 2011] (PDF) (in Russian). Lenta.ru. 2011. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  62. ^ "British single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  63. ^ "American single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  64. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. 18 May 1991. p. 21.
  65. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. 22 June 1991. p. 19.
  66. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. 14 September 1991. p. 21.

External links[edit]