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Culture

Listening to the Wind of Change

The song "Wind of Change" by the German hardrock band "Scorpions" captured the feel of 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. Now the song is set to become a musical.

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Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker of Germany's rockband Scorpions back in Berlin

In Gorki Park, in Berlin’s trendy "Mitte" district, savvy young people sit in the cafe’s glass window fronts, sipping large cups of milky coffee, watching flurries of snow whisked up by a cold, gusty wind and passers-by shivering in the cold.

The fact that today’s sophisticated young generation hangs out in a cafe with a Russian name and red Soviet-style stars is just one example of the change Berlin has gone through in the last decade.

It’s a change the German rock group the "Scorpions" recognized and immortalized in their hit song "Wind of Change".

Did you ever think that we could be so close, like brothers? The future’s in the air, I can feel it everywhere, blowing with the wind of change.

In just a few months the tune became famous worldwide. It was synonymous with the season of change in Eastern Europe, when communist governments toppled and a air of freedom swept across the iron curtain.

When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, the song accompanied the moving scenes of East Germans passing through the Brandenburg Gate and entering the West for the first time. And in Prague the song summed up the sentiment of the peaceful velvet revolution when thousands demonstrated for the end of communist rule.

"Take me to the magic of the moment"

The song will now lead up a new musical, the "Wind of Change", due to open in Berlin in 2004.

The show will be a "political thriller with a dramatic love story", a documentation of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Maik Klokow, head of the show's production company said.

The production, budgeted at 10 million euro ($8.7 million), will run in the city's currently closed Metropol Theater.

In addition to "Wind of Change," the production will include 15 new songs composed by the Scorpions, who are known for their rough voices, tough studded-leather Look, wailing guitars and long hair.

But the show will "not be a hard-rock musical," Scorpion member Rudolf Schenker said.

The show is set between 1960 and 1989 and will take place in both East and West Germany, combining political events with elements from individual life stories – in an attempt to show the younger generation that "people sacrificed their lives for freedom," Klokow said.

Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams

One of the most successful hard rock bands in Germany, the Scorpions formed in Hanover in 1969 and have sold over 20 million records since. Their greatest success was the album "Crazy World", accompanied by a world tour which included a row of groundbreaking appearances in the former USSR.

But as musical tastes began to change in the 90s, and pop-metal and hard rock became increasingly outmoded by grunge, sales dropped, despite numerous line-up changes and various attempted modifications in the band’s musical direction.

Today, the Scorpions may not be as popular as other bands. But they are still well-known throughout the country and abroad not least as vocal opponents to the neo-Nazi movement.

After a combined concert with the Berlin philharmonic, the Scorpions and their song "Wind of Change" have made it to the classic genre too.

And by the time the Scorpion’s new musical sees its debut, Berlin Mitte’s trendies may well be ready for a bit of hard rock nostalgia.

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