“Wind of Change” is a power ballad by the 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. It 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 collapse of the Soviet Communist regime. The song topped the charts in Germany and across Europe and peaked at number four in the United States on August 31, 1991, and 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. With estimated sales of 14 million copies sold worldwide, “Wind of Change” is one of the best-selling singles of all time. It holds the record for the best-selling single by a German artist.
The band presented a gold record of the single to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991. As of April 2018, the video for “Wind of Change” has been viewed more than 550 million times on YouTube. The Scorpions were the first German band to receive over 100 million views.
he lyrics celebrate glasnost in the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and speaks 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.
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:
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 verse:
The wind of change blows straight
into the face of time,
Like a stormwind that will ring
the freedom bell 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 best-selling song ever in Germany, reportedly 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.
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