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Wicked Game

"Wicked Game"
Wicked Games by Chris Isaak US commercial cassette.jpg
U.S. commercial cassette single
Single by Chris Isaak
from the album Heart Shaped World
B-side "Wicked Game" (Instrumental)
Released 8 November 1990
Recorded 1988
Length 4:46
Label Reprise
Writer(s) Chris Isaak
Producer(s) Erik Jacobsen
Chris Isaak singles chronology
"Don't Make Me Dream About You"
"Wicked Game"
"Blue Hotel" (re-release)
"Wicked Game"
Wicked Game.jpeg
Single by HIM
from the album Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666
Released September 28, 1998
Format CD Single
Genre Rock
Length 3:54
Writer(s) Chris Isaak
HIM singles chronology
"Your Sweet Six Six Six"
"Wicked Game"
"It's All Tears (Drown in This Love)"
"Wicked Games"
Single by Parra for Cuva featuring Anna Naklab
Released 14 October 2013
Format CD single, Digital download
Recorded 2013
Genre Folktronica, deep house
Length 3:15
Label Spinnin' Deep
Writer(s) Chris Isaak
Parra for Cuva singles chronology
"Wicked Games"
Fading Nights
Anna Naklab singles chronology
"Something Near"
"Wicked Games"
Fading Nights
"Wicked Game (Melanconia)"
Il divo --- wicked game.jpg
Single by Il Divo
Released 4 November 2011
Genre Classical crossover
Length 4:16
Label Syco Music
Writer(s) Chris Isaak
Producer(s) Per Magnusson; David Kreuger
Il Divo singles chronology
"The Time of Our Lives"
"Wicked Game"
"Por una Cabeza"
"Wicked Game"
Single by Gemma Hayes
Released March 10, 2012 Ireland
March 12, 2012 International
Recorded January 2012
Genre Alternative
Length 4:05
Label GH Records
Writer(s) Chris Isaak
Producer(s) Gemma Hayes

"Wicked Game" is a song by American rock musician Chris Isaak, released from his third studio album Heart Shaped World (1989). Despite being released as a single in 1990, 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 number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the first hit song of his career.

The song is written in the mode of B Dorian and it is a ballad about unrequited love, performed in what AllMusic describes as a "brooding, sorrowfully conflicted" tone.

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.James Calvin Wilsey played the distinctive lead guitar solo on the song.

There are two different music videos for this song. "Wicked Game," 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 and Isaak were shirtless through most of the video, although Christensen's nudity was concealed by clever camera angles. The video won the MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Video, Best Cinematography and Best Video from a Film. It was ranked #13 on VH1's 100 Greatest Videos, #4 on VH1's 50 Sexiest Video Moments, #73 on Rolling Stone magazine's The 100 Top Music Videos, and #1 on Fuse's 40 Sexiest Videos in 2010.

Chart (1990–91) Peak
Australia (ARIA) 15
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 1
Canada Top Singles (RPM) 3
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 8
France (SNEP) 42
Germany (Official German Charts) 9
Ireland (IRMA) 10
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 7
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 10
US Billboard Hot 100 6
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 12
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 10
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 2
Chart (1991) Position
Dutch Top 40 30
US Billboard Hot 100 79
Country Certification Sales certified
United States Gold 500,000
United Kingdom Silver 200,000
Chart (2013–14) Peak
Australia (ARIA) 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 15
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia) 21
France (SNEP) 72
Germany (Official German Charts) 89
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40) 40
Ireland (IRMA) 54
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 6
Scotland (Official Charts Company) 4
UK Dance (Official Charts Company) 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 6
Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA) Gold 35,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Region Date Label Format
France 14 October 2013 Spinnin' Records Digital download
Germany 14 February 2014
Ireland 24 October 2014
United Kingdom 26 October 2014

CD maxi - Europe
CD maxi - Promo - U.S.
12" maxi - UK
7" single - Europe
7" single - US (Reprise 7-19704)
German release
Finnish release
2000 UK release
2000 Swedish release
Chart position
  • In 2016 Latvian singer-songwriter Johnny Osma recorded an acoustic guitar cover version of this song and it was released as a single on iTunes.
  • An electronic cover of this song was recorded by The X Factor finalist Daniel Evans on his YouTube channel in 2013. He used scenes from the Terrence Malick film The Tree of Life feat. Jessica Chastain to create a video for this piano based/electronic version. There is also a slightly darker, alternative version with just Evans featuring dark flashbacks of emotion. This was subsequently released as the title track for his album of the same name.
  • In 2012 Irish singer-songwriter Gemma Hayes was asked to record the track for US Teen drama series Pretty Little Liars. In 2014, a vocal house remix of this, alongside Betoko, appeared on Anjunabeats Volume 11.
  • The German dance/techno-outfit Novaspace recorded a version of the song for their 2004 album Cubes.
  • Heather Nova included a cover on her 2005 album Redbird.
  • The gregorian chant -inspired music group Gregorian made a cover of the song for their album Masters of Chant Chapter III.
  • R.E.M. included a cover of the song on their 1995 Fan Club Christmas Single.
  • Corey Taylor of Stone Sour and Slipknot performed this song acoustic in Stone Sour's tours of 2006 and 2007. A live acoustic version of the song is on the special edition version of the Stone Sour album Come What(ever) May.
  • Three Days Grace performed this song acoustic on the band's tour in 2007, and this version is available for download on the iTunes version of their album, One-X.
  • Bossasonic made a cover of Wicked Game that was released in 2008.
  • Tangerine Dream, in their 2010 album Under Cover - Chapter One.
  • Jordan Winter covered this song for the promo for Emmerdale's Cain Dingle Judgment Day
  • Swedish pop singer Linda Pritchard released the song as a single in September/October 2011.
  • Swiss All-Female band Les Reines prochaines released a cover of the song on their album Le Coeur en Beurre-Doublegras under the name "Opfer dieses Liedes" (performed by Pipilotti Rist)
  • Giant Drag covered the song on the album Hearts and Unicorns in 2005 as a UK bonus track, later available in the March 2006 US release as well.
  • James Vincent McMorrow covered the song on the EP We Don't Eat, and was featured in the trailer for the sixth season of Game of Thrones.
  • In 2011, the song was covered by Il Divo with the title "Melanconia".
  • Widowspeak covered the song on their EP "Gun Shy" released in 2011.
  • Phillip Phillips released his rendition of the song on his 2012 album, The World from the Side of the Moon
  • Emika has included a version on her album, Dva.
  • A cover of the song is included on Milk Inc. 2013 album, Undercover.
  • London Grammar performed the song as an encore during their 2013 UK tour, as well as recording a live version for the BBC
  • In 2013 song was sung by Anton Belyaev in Russian version "The Voice"
  • Emilie Simon, who had previously sung "Blue Hotel" as a duet with Isaak on French TV show Taratata, released a cover of this song on her sixth studio album Mue in 2014.
  • HIM covered the song on the album Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666 released in 1997.
  • Chilean band La Ley released a cover (in Spanish) of this song as a single in 2014, with the title "Sin tí".
  • In 2015, the song was covered by St.Jon.
  • Russian musician Alexander Korshunov recorded his version of the song in November 2016
  • The debut trailer for open world racing video game Forza Horizon 3 shown at E3 2016 featured a cover of the song performed by Ursine Vulpine featuring Annaca.


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