World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Wicked Game

"Wicked Game"
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" 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 (and technically only) hit song of his career.


  • Composition 1
  • Music videos 2
  • Use in popular culture 3
  • Track listings 4
  • Charts and certifications 5
    • Weekly charts 5.1
    • Year-end charts 5.2
    • Certifications 5.3
  • HIM cover version 6
    • Track listings 6.1
  • Parra for Cuva cover version 7
    • Track listing 7.1
    • Charts 7.2
    • Certifications 7.3
    • Release history 7.4
  • Version by Il Divo 8
  • Cover version by Gemma Hayes 9
  • Other versions 10
  • Personnel 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


The song is written in the mode of B Dorian and it is a ballad about unrequited love,[1][2] performed in what Allmusic describes as a "brooding, sorrowfully conflicted" tone.[3]

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

Music videos

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 and Isaak were both topless 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. 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.[5]

Use in popular culture

Track listings

Charts and certifications

HIM cover version

"Wicked Game"
Single by HIM
from the album Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666
Released September 28, 1998
Format CD Single
Genre Rock
Length 3:54
HIM singles chronology
"Your Sweet Six Six Six"
"Wicked Game"
"It's All Tears (Drown in This Love)"

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. 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."

Track listings

German release
  1. "Wicked Game" – 3:54
  2. "For You" – 4:00
  3. "Our Diabolical 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 version

"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
Parra for Cuva singles chronology
"Wicked Games"
Fading Nights
Anna Naklab singles chronology
"Something Near"
"Wicked Games"
Fading Nights

In 2013, German house producer Parra for Cuva released a cover version that featured Anna Naklab. The single was retitled as "Wicked Games" in plural. It was first released on Beatport worldwide as a digital download in August 2013, then a mainstream release as a digital download in France in October 2013 and in Germany on 14 February 2014. The song has charted in Australia, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Track listing

  1. "Wicked Games" (radio edit) – 3:15
  2. "Wicked Games" (original mix) – 5:58


Chart (2013–14) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[26] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[27] 15
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[28] 21
France (SNEP)[29] 72
Germany (Official German Charts)[30] 89
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[31] 40
Ireland (IRMA)[32] 54
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[33] 6
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[34] 4
UK Dance (Official Charts Company)[35] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[36] 6


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[37] Gold 35,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history

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

Version by Il Divo

"Wicked Game (Melanconia)"
Single by Il Divo
Released 4 November 2011
Genre Classical crossover
Label Syco Music
Producer(s) Per Magnusson; David Kreuger

Il Divo bought the copyright, and covered the song gender classical crossover with its lyrical voices, playing the song in Spanish, included in his 2011 album Wicked Game.[38]

Cover version by Gemma Hayes

"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
Producer(s) Gemma Hayes

Singer songwriter Gemma Hayes recorded a version of the song.

On February 16, 2012 Hayes revealed in an interview with Evening Echo's 'Downtown', she recorded a cover version of Wicked Game" for US Teen drama Pretty Little Liars, the song featured throughout her 2012 tour playlist.[39]

On 1 March 2012, confirmed her cover of "Wicked Game" would appear on Pretty Little Liars on 12 March and will be available to download as a single.

The track was released after her fourth studio album Let It Break and before her fifth studio album release Bones+Longing.

On March 2015 was recorded a video musical session, playing this song at St. Patrick's Chapel - Irish Cultural Center, Paris.[40]

Chart position

In January 2012, Hayes was asked to record a cover version of Chris Isaak' 'Wicked Game' for US Teen drama 'Pretty Little Liars'. The track appeared on US TV in March 2012.[41] The track was released on iTunes on 12 March 2012.[42] The song performed well in the charts peaking at #5 in Canada, #4 in Ireland, #3 in France and #1 in Sweden.[43]

Other versions

  • The video was parodied in the Bloodhound Gang video Screwing You on the Beach at Night.
  • Trentemøller did a Dub remix of this song. It was never released but is available for download.
  • Girls Aloud recorded the track but is currently unreleased.
  • The song was used in a contemporary routine choreographed by Travis Wall on So You Think You Can Dance season 10, with Amy Yakima.
  • The song has been lately remixed by neihardt, whose soulful and clean version has never been released but hit on YouTube around 20.000 plays.



  1. ^ Kim, Jae-Ha (21 April 1991). "Chris Isaak finally wins success in wicked game". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (17 February 1991). "Isaak's 'Wicked Game' a Surprise Smash". L.A. Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Huey, Steve. "Wicked Game - Chris Isaak". allmusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  4. ^ """Classic Tracks: Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game. 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  5. ^ Claire PITTARD. "US Screencaps - Wicked Game". Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  6. ^ "Covers by Nicholis Louw". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  7. ^ "Karnivool - Lifelike & Wicked Game [Live] (Good Quality) (Whole Song)". Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Wicked Game#Parra for Cuva cover version
  9. ^ " – Chris Isaak – Wicked Game". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  10. ^ " – Chris Isaak – Wicked Game" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  12. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Suomi) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi.  
  13. ^ " – Chris Isaak – Wicked Game" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. ^ " – Chris Isaak Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  15. ^ Irish Single Chart (Retrieved February 23, 2008)
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Chris Isaak search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  17. ^ " – Chris Isaak – Wicked Game". Top 40 Singles.
  18. ^ " – Chris Isaak – Wicked Game". Singles Top 60.
  19. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  20. ^ a b c Billboard (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  21. ^  
  22. ^ "Single top 100 over 1991" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  23. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1991". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  24. ^ U.S. certifications (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  25. ^ UK certifications (Retrieved May 16, 2015)
  26. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  27. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  28. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  29. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games" (in French). Les classement single.
  30. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  31. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége.
  32. ^ "Chart Track: Week 47, 2014". Irish Singles Chart.
  33. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  34. ^ "Archive Chart: 2014-11-08". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  35. ^ "Archive Chart: 2014-11-08" UK Dance Chart.
  36. ^ "Archive Chart: 2014-11-08" UK Singles Chart.
  37. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2015 Singles".  
  38. ^ "New Il Divo Album Announced!". 
  39. ^ "Gemma Hayes wicked game Galway". YouTube. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  40. ^ Gemma Hayes - Wicked Game
  41. ^ "PLL Wicked Game - Gemma Hayes". YouTube. 
  42. ^ "iTunes - Music - Wicked Game - Single by Gemma Hayes". iTunes. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ "iTunes - Music - Wicked Game - Single by Gemma Hayes". 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  45. ^ "Wicked Game - Katie Kim by KATIE KIM on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.