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
  • "Restless Nights" (Europe)
  • "Money and Fame" (US, Canada)
Released20 January 1991 (1991-01-20)
  • 5:10 (album version)
  • 3:44 (radio edit)
Songwriter(s)Klaus Meine
Scorpions singles chronology
"Don't Believe Her"
"Wind of Change"
"Send Me an Angel"
Music video
"Wind Of Change" on YouTube

"Wind of Change" is a power ballad[7] by West German rock band Scorpions, recorded for their eleventh studio album, Crazy World (1990). The song 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 in 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")[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11] The memories of this time are also transported in the music video for the song.[12] Meine was inspired by his participation in the Moscow Music Peace Festival on August 13, 1989, at Lenin Stadium, where the Scorpions performed in front of about 300,000 fans:[7][13]

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.[7] 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.[14]


"Wind of Change" opens with a clean guitar introduction played by Matthias Jabs, which is played alongside Klaus Meine's flat whistle.[15] The song's guitar solo is played by Rudolf Schenker.[citation needed]


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.[16][17] In 2005, viewers of the German television network ZDF chose this song as the song of the century.[7] "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). Most recently the song can be heard in the opening scene of the action comedy film The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) starring Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan and Justin Theroux. The song is also featured in television shows Melrose Place, Chuck, and Car Share and Nutri Ventures parody version. [18]

The song is the subject of the podcast "Wind of Change", released 11 May 2020, which raises questions regarding the song's origin. 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.[19] 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.”[20][21][22] In December 2020, Deadline reported that the podcast will be adapted into a television series for Hulu directed by Alex Karpovsky.[23]

Track listings[edit]


Additional musicians[edit]


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[58]
physical sales in 1991
Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[59]
physical sales in 1991
Platinum 50,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[60]
digital sales
Gold 45,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[61] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[62]
physical sales in 1991
Platinum 500,000^
Italy (FIMI)[63]
sales since 2009
Gold 15,000*
Russia (NFPF)[64]
Ringtone sales 2006-2011
Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[65]
physical sales in 1991
Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[66]
physical sales in 1991
Gold 500,000^

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marks, Andrea (14 July 2020). "Could the CIA Have Planted Hair-Metal Propaganda During the Cold War?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  2. ^ DeLuca, Dan. "Beyonce, Questlove, Scorpions, and the CIA: Music podcasts for a summertime binge". Inquirer. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Scorpions Albums :: NoiseTrade :: Paste Magazine". Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  4. ^ True 90s - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 14 June 2021
  5. ^ "Top 100 Classic Rock Artists". Ultimate Classic Rock. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  6. ^ Cochrane, Greg (14 December 2020). "The best new podcasts of 2020". NME. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Bienstalk, Richard Scorpions' 'Wind of Change': The Oral History of 1990's Epic Power Ballad Rolling Stone. 4 September 2015
  8. ^ YouTube:Scorpions - Ветер перемен
  9. ^ "SCORPIONS: WIND OF CHANGE Der Wende-Hit". Hamburger Abendblatt. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2016. Von Jana-Sophie Brasseler 02.10.09
  10. ^ Bregestovski, Anton (15 December 1991). "Rock group meet Gorbachev". UPI. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  11. ^ SWR Online: Die „Scorpions“ — Deutschlands erfolgreichster Rockexport; the interview could be heard on May 14, 2010 in SWR1 Leute (Baden-Wuerttemberg).
  12. ^ Wind of Change: The music video on the official band website
  13. ^ Und jetzt alle zusammen!, einestages vom 6. Oktober 2010.
  14. ^ Archived (Date missing) at (Error: unknown archive URL)
  15. ^ "Musikalischer Exportschlager". 17 February 2009.
  16. ^ "BBC News | Europe | Berlin anniversary ends with a bang". 10 November 1999. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  17. ^ William Drozdiak (10 November 1999). "Ten Years After the Fall". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  18. ^ "IMDB - Scorpions". Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Wind of Change". 11 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  20. ^ "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
  22. ^ "Was a '90s Scorpions Song the Work of the C.I.A.? This Podcast Is on It". 8 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  23. ^ White, Peter (16 December 2020). "Hulu Lands TV Adaptation Of Rock 'N' Roll Spy Podcast 'Wind of Change'". Deadline. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  24. ^ Wind of Change (European 7-inch single vinyl disc). Scorpions. Mercury Records. 1990. 878 832-7.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  25. ^ Wind of Change (European CD single disc notes). Scorpions. Mercury Records, Phonogram Inc. 1990. 878 833-2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  26. ^ Wind of Change (UK CD single liner notes). Scorpions. Vertigo Records. 1991. VERCD58, 866 017-2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  27. ^ Wind of Change (US & Canadian 7-inch single liner notes). Scorpions. Mercury Records. 1991. 868 180-7.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  28. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  29. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  30. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  31. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1570." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Top 10 Denmark" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8 no. 30. 27 July 1991. p. 20. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8 no. 23. 8 June 1991. p. 21. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  34. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in French). Les classement single.
  35. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  36. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Wind of Change". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  37. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Scorpions" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  38. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
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  40. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change". VG-lista.
  41. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change". Singles Top 100.
  42. ^ " – Scorpions – Wind of Change". Swiss Singles Chart.
  43. ^ "Scorpions: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  44. ^ "Scorpions Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  45. ^ "Scorpions Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  46. ^ "Scorpions Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
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  48. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1991" (in German). Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  49. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1991" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  50. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1991". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  51. ^ "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.
  52. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1991" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  53. ^ "Single top 100 over 1991" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  54. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1991" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  55. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1991" (in German). Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  56. ^ "1991 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 11 January 1992. p. 20.
  57. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1991". Archived from the original on 7 July 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  58. ^ "1991 - Aria Singles Chart". Aria Cahrts. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  59. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  60. ^ "Danish single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  61. ^ "Les Certifications depuis 1973: Singles". Retrieved 29 June 2020. (select "Scorpions" from drop-down list)
  62. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Scorpions; 'Wind of Change')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  63. ^ "Italian single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 29 June 2020. Select "2014" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Wind of Change" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  64. ^ "РОССИЙСКАЯ ИНДУСТРИЯ ЗВУКОЗАПИСИ - Год 2011 I полугодие" [Top 50 RBT 2011] (PDF) (in Russian). 2011. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  65. ^ "British single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  66. ^ "American single certifications – Scorpions – Wind of Change". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 29 June 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]