Wicked Game

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"Wicked Game"
Single by Chris Isaak
from the album Heart Shaped World
B-side"Wicked Game" (Instrumental)
Released1989
FormatCD single, CD maxi, 7" single,
12" maxi
GenreRockabilly, soft rock
Length4:46 (album version)
4:06 (edit)
LabelWarner Brothers
Writer(s)Chris Isaak
ProducerErik Jacobsen
Chris Isaak singles chronology
"Don't Make Me Dream About You"
(1989)
"Wicked Game"
(1989)
"Blue Hotel" (re-release)
(1991)
 
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"Wicked Game"
Single by Chris Isaak
from the album Heart Shaped World
B-side"Wicked Game" (Instrumental)
Released1989
FormatCD single, CD maxi, 7" single,
12" maxi
GenreRockabilly, soft rock
Length4:46 (album version)
4:06 (edit)
LabelWarner Brothers
Writer(s)Chris Isaak
ProducerErik Jacobsen
Chris Isaak singles chronology
"Don't Make Me Dream About You"
(1989)
"Wicked Game"
(1989)
"Blue Hotel" (re-release)
(1991)

"Wicked Game"[1] is a 1989 song by Chris Isaak from his third studio album Heart Shaped World. Despite being released as a single in 1989, it did not become a hit until it was later featured in the David Lynch film Wild at Heart (1990). Lee Chesnut, an Atlanta radio station music director who loved David Lynch films, began playing the song and it quickly became a nationwide top ten hit in January 1991, reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the first hit song of his career. James Calvin Wilsey played the distinctive lead guitar solo on the song.

The song is written in the mode of B Dorian. Through several years, many different versions and arrangements of the song were made before the final version was released. Both the bassline and drums (except the cymbals) were sampled from previous recordings of the song and then looped.[2]

Composition[edit]

The song is a ballad about unrequited love,[3][4] performed in what Allmusic describes as a "brooding, sorrowfully conflicted" tone.[5]

Music videos[edit]

There are two different music videos for this song. The most well-known music video of the song was directed by Herb Ritts, shot in Hawaii and featured top model Helena Christensen rolling and frolicking on the beach with Isaak. It was filmed in black and white. Christensen was topless and Isaak was shirtless through most of the video, although clever camera angles concealed any actual nudity. The video won the MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Video, Best Cinematography and Best Video from a Film. The video was ranked #13 on VH1's 100 Greatest Videos and was also ranked #4 on VH1's 50 Sexiest Video Moments. The video was ranked #73 on Rolling Stone magazine's "The 100 Top Music Videos". The video ranked #1 on Fuse's "40 Sexiest Videos" in 2010.

A previous version of the video was commissioned for the Wild at Heart soundtrack, and was directed by David Lynch.[6]

Use in popular culture[edit]

Track listings[edit]

CD maxi - Europe
  1. "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak
  2. "Cool Cat Walk" by Angelo Badalamenti
  3. "Dark Spanish Symphony" (string version) by Angelo Badalamenti — 2:34
CD maxi - Promo - U.S.
  1. "Wicked Game" (album version) — 4:46
  2. "Wicked Game" (edit) — 4:06
  3. "Wicked Game" (instrumental) — 4:48
Cassette
  1. "Wicked Game" (edit) — 4:06
  2. "Wicked Game" (instrumental) — 4:48
12" maxi - UK
  1. "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak
  2. "Cool Cat Walk" by Angelo Badalamenti
  3. "Dark Spanish Symphony" (string version) by Angelo Badalamenti — 2:34
7" single - Europe
  1. "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak — 4:06
  2. "Cool Cat Walk" by Angelo Badalamenti — 3:22

Charts[edit]

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1990/91)Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[7]15
Dutch Top 40[8]5
French SNEP Singles Chart[7]42
German Singles Chart[9]9
Irish Singles Chart[10]10
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[7]7
Swedish Singles Chart[7]3
UK Singles Chart[11]10
US Billboard Hot 100[12]6
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks12[13]
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[12]10
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[12]2

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1991)Position
Dutch Top 40[8]30
US Billboard Hot 100[14]79

Certifications[edit]

CountryCertificationDateSales certified
U.S.[15]GoldApril 17, 1991500,000

Cover versions[edit]

HIM cover[edit]

"Wicked Game"
Single by HIM
from the album Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666
ReleasedSeptember 28, 1998
FormatCD Single
GenreRock
Length3:54
HIM singles chronology
"Your Sweet Six Six Six"
(1998)
"Wicked Game"
(1998)
"It's All Tears (Drown in This Love)"
(1999)
Alternative covers
"Wicked Game" cover (Finnish version) on Razorblade Romance

The Finnish band HIM remade this song, first using it in their demo This is Only the Beginning, then on their EP 666 Ways To Love: Prologue, followed by another recording of it on their first album Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666, and lastly on the British and American versions of their second album Razorblade Romance. The last recording they made of it then reappeared on their compilation album And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–2004. With "Wicked Game" on their EP and first album, HIM gained fame in their native Finland.[citation needed] HIM frontman Ville Valo had this to say about "Wicked Game": "I went to Pasila's library and borrowed the soundtrack-vinyl of Wild At Heart and recorded it on tape. So with Linde we tried to 'learn' the song from the tape. It was kind of funny, that we learnt the song a bit wrong. We did not hear the guitar parts well enough from that 'bad quality' tape. We also heard the lyrics wrong, and when the song was later recorded to our first EP, there were a few funny mistakes in the lyrics."[citation needed]

Track listings[edit]

German release
  1. "Wicked Game" – 3:54
  2. "For You" – 4:00
  3. "Our Diabolikal Rapture" – 5:20
  4. "Wicked Game" (666 Remix) – 3:58
Finnish release
  1. "Wicked Game"
  2. "For You"
2000 UK release
  1. "Wicked Game" – 3:36
  2. "When Love and Death Embrace" (Amnt mix) – 3:34
  3. "The Heartless" (Serdlidlim Mix) – 3:11
2000 Swedish release
  1. "Wicked Game" 2000
  2. "When Love and Death Embrace" (Amnt mix) – 3:34

Parra for Cuva cover[edit]

"Wicked Games"
Single by Parra for Cuva featuring Anna Naklab
ReleasedOctober 2013
FormatCD Single
Length3:15
LabelSpinning Records
Parra for Cuva featuring Anna Naklab singles chronology
/"Wicked Games"
(2013)
Music video
"Wicked Games" on YouTube

In 2013, Parra For Cuva released a cover version that featured Anna Naklab. The single was retitled as "Wicked Games" in plural. This version has charted in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Tracklist
  1. "Wicked Games" (Radio Edit) (3:15)
  2. "Wicked Games" (Original Mix) (5:58)
Charts
Chart (2013)Peak
position
Belgian (Vlanders) Singles Chart[16]46
Dutch Single Top 100[17]6
Dutch Top 40[18]6
French SNEP Singles Chart[19]127

Other versions[edit]

Performances
Various

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wicked Game". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Classic Tracks: Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game"". Mixonline.com. 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  3. ^ Kim, Jae-Ha (21 April 1991). "Chris Isaak finally wins success in wicked game". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (17 February 1991). "Isaak's 'Wicked Game' a Surprise Smash". L.A. Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Huey, Steve. "Wicked Game - Chris Isaak". allmusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Claire PITTARD. "US Screencaps - Wicked Game". Chrisisaak.online.fr. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Wicked Game", various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved February 23, 2008)
  8. ^ a b "Single top 100 over 1991" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  9. ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  10. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved February 23, 2008)
  11. ^ UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  12. ^ a b c Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 122. 
  14. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1991". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  15. ^ U.S. certifications riaa.com (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  16. ^ LesCharts.com: Parra for Cuva - "Wicked Games" page
  17. ^ LesCharts.com: Parra for Cuva - "Wicked Games" page
  18. ^ Top40.nl: Parra for Cuva feat. Anna Naklab - "Wicked Games" page
  19. ^ LesCharts.com: Parra for Cuva - "Wicked Games" page
  20. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/wicked-game-single/id509290481
  21. ^ https://soundcloud.com/katie-kim/wicked-game-katie-kim

External links[edit]