Scorpions’ Klaus Meine Recalls ‘Wind of Change’ Advice
Klaus Meine recalled the emotional experience that led to the creation of the Scorpions hit “Wind of Change” and how, when given two pieces of advice over the song, he took one and avoided the other.
The German band was extremely popular in the Soviet Union, but due to the ongoing tensions of the Cold War, they’d never been allowed to perform behind the Iron Curtain. That changed when the Communist bloc began to disintegrate at the end of the ‘80s, as Meine told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show.
“We played in Moscow, finally, in ’89, at the legendary Moscow Peace Festival, along with Bon Jovi, Ozzy [Osbourne], Motley [Crue],” Meine said. “But the Scorpions were the most famous band in Russia, and for us, it was a very, very special moment.
“I remember a night when we were all on the boat, going down the Moskva [river] to Gorky Park, with all those bands, journalists, MTV, Red Army soldiers. … There was a vibe, a feeling that the world was about to change. There was a whole new generation of kids and they said, ‘The time of the Cold War would be over soon. … The world will be different tomorrow.’ With this feeling of hope, when I came home I wrote ‘Wind of Change.’”
The song was developed alongside the other tracks for the band's 1990 album Crazy World, and work was undertaken in Los Angeles with producer Keith Olsen, while another studio icon, Bruce Fairbairn, was consulted. “Bruce made notes of the songs, and on ‘Wind of Change’ he wrote, ‘The only thing that’s missing is a great chorus,” Meine recalled. “‘This could be a smash.’ And it was true, because at this point there was only the whistle part and the verses. So I went home and came up with a chorus – and then finally the song came all together.”
Meine added that the U.S. record company then said "This is an amazing song – but please, take out the whistle part.” He rejected the suggestion, and “Wind of Change,” when released as a single in January 1991, went on to become an anthem of the German reunification era. In 2005, viewers of the national TV network ZDF voted it the song of the 20th century.
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