Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe has done plenty of extensive and gripping longform journalism, including his most recent book, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (which I could not recommend more highly). His newest project is a slight departure from covering topics of crime and radical separationists, but still deals heavily with espionage and subterfuge.
It’s about the Scorpions, the English-speaking German rock band who rocked you like a hurricane. And also the CIA.
Here’s the official blurb:
It’s 1990. The Berlin Wall just fell. The Soviet Union is on the verge of collapse. And the soundtrack to the revolution is one of the best selling songs of all time, the metal ballad “Wind of Change,” by The Scorpions. Decades later, journalist Patrick Radden Keefe heard a rumor: the song wasn’t written by The Scorpions. It was written by the CIA. This is his journey to find the truth.
Told through exclusive interviews with former CIA officers, on the ground reporting, and more – this podcast embodies the traditional tones of investigative journalism while keeping listeners on their toes through its cinematic pacing, simulating the theatricality of the critically acclaimed film Argo in a podcast. This 8-part series follows Patrick’s search for the truth, a 10 year investigation that traces the 70 year history of our government’s meddling into pop music, including everyone from Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone, to Bon Jovi and the Beach Boys.
I’ve listened to the first two episodes available so far (which is also embedded below), and I’m absolutely hooked. Keefe’s curiosity is instantly compelling, and his track record is enough to keep me from worrying about an ultimately disappointing journey. Say Nothing essentially solved the case of an IRA murder that was left unresolved for decades; whatever Keefe uncovers in his quest to get to the bottom of the CIA’s propaganda pop song prowess, I’m sure it will be just as gripping. So far, it’s already touched a lot on the CIA’s cushy Cold War relationship with Hollywood, going even more depth into the happenings in and around the ones depicted in the movie Argo.
The full 8-episode series is available to listen on Spotify right now; if you want to listen on your preferred podcasting platform, however, you’re going to have to wait for the weekly installments.
Wind of Change [Patrick Radden Keefe / Pineapple Street Studios / Crooked Media / Spotify]
Rare ’80s metal merch w/ a wild alleged C.I.A. connection… [Blackbird Spyplane]