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Wicked Game by Chris Isaak

Album: Heart Shaped WorldReleased: 1989Charted:
  • "Wicked Game" is a tale of obsessive love. Chris Isaak spoke to us about the late-night event which inspired the song: "This one I wrote really late at night and it was written in a short time, because I remember that a girl had called me and said, 'I want to come over and talk to you,' and 'talk' was a euphemism. And she said, 'I want to come over and talk to you until you're no longer able to stand up.' And I said, 'Okay, you're coming over.' And as soon as I hung up I thought, 'Oh, my God. I know she's gonna be trouble. She's always been trouble. She's a wildcat. And here I am, I'm going to get killed, but I'm doing this.' And I wrote 'Wicked Game': 'world's on fire and no one can save me but you.' It's like you start thinking about it, and by the time she came over to the house, I had the song written. And I think she was probably upset because I was more excited by the song. (Laughing) I was like, 'Yes, you're gorgeous, baby. But listen to this song!'"
  • Isaak told us "Wicked Game" came to him effortlessly: "I think that sometimes you get easy ones that come very quick and you're really glad - you go, 'Wow, where'd this come from?' It's so fast to write. And then there's other songs that you do and it's like doing your homework. It's like you really are working and biting the pencil and working on that third verse. Most of the time you do work. But sometimes you get lucky."
  • The song got a big boost when an instrumental version was featured in the 1990 movie Wild At Heart, which was directed by David Lynch and starred Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage. Isaak spoke to interviewer, Mike Ragogna, about David Lynch: "I enjoy talking about David Lynch because he's such a great guy. The question I get about him is, 'How is David Lynch? Is he scary or spooky or something?' I don't think it's ever guys who make films like David makes or who have that kind of weird bent in their artwork–those guys are probably the nicest guys in real life because they've expressed all of their weird angles. The guys you have to watch are the guys who go, 'I'm a scout master, the proud father of two children, and I'm also a deacon in the church.' Then you go, 'Be careful.' If he's out in the back yard at night with a shovel, be careful because he's burying something."
  • Lee Chesnut, who was music director of an Atlanta radio station and a huge fan of David Lynch films, helped popularize this song when he added it to his playlist after watching Wild At Heart. The song gradually gained an audience and charted in the US 18 months after Isaak's album Heart Shaped World was released.
  • The fashion photographer Herb Ritts directed the track's racy video. It features model Helena Christensen seducing Isaak on a beach. In 1991, it won MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Video, Best Cinematography, and Best Video From a Film. It regularly features on "Sexiest Music Videos Ever" lists. Ritts, who often worked with black and white, also directed a number of commercials for Victoria's Secret and Revlon. Other videos he directed include "In The Closet" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)." Bloodhound Gang parodied the "Wicked Game" video for their 2007 video, "Screwing You on the Beach at Night."
  • In 1996, the song was used on the TV show Friends in the episode The One Where Ross and Rachel... You Know, when Ross and Rachel make love for the first time.
  • The instrumental version was used in the 2000 film The Family Man, starring Nicolas Cage.
  • Jaguar used this in commercials to introduce it's X-type cars.
  • HIM, WU LYF, Washed Out and R.E.M are among the artists who have covered this track.
  • A cover by German house producer Parra for Cuva reached the Top 10 in the UK as well as the singles charts in many other European countries in 2014. His version, re-titled as "Wicked Games" in plural featured vocals by his frequent collaborator Anna Naklab.
  • The Irish singer-songwriter Gemma Hayes recorded a remake in 2012 for the US teen drama Pretty Little Liars.
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Comments: 31

One of the most haunting-sounding songs ever made. Never regarded it as 'sexy,' but I knew one woman who would have thrown herself at Isaak if she had ever met him.Esskayess - Dallas, Tx
So is it "fall in love..." or "fall in lust...". I've seen lyrics posted both ways.Cid - Argyle, Ny
A very good song but my favorite one of Chris Isaac is "Blue Hotel". It's true that he sounds very Elvis Presley.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
This song has an emotional pain to it but yet a sexiness at the same time. to me its mor about a man who has met an incredible woman possibly at a time in his life where he is not ready for her or has just come out of another relationship or simply has no faith in relationships not ending in heartache. its like a battle with himself as 'i never dreamed that id meet somebody like you' and 'i dont wanna fall in love with you' almost as if he knows its happening but doesnt want it to because it frightens him, and then he says 'this love is only goign to break your heart' almost as if he is saying it to himself. its as though he can feel himself falling for her and he doesnt want to so it can come across as though he is angry at her in a way for getting under his skin? Very sexy clip too.Ny - Canberra, Australia
His voice is more like the voice of Elvis. It's a very good song.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
Ive heard it by three dauys grace and HIM
HIM's version sounds best i think b/c villie vallos voice just seems like its made for the song
when was the song on american idol? this season ?
i dnt usually watch it but sometimes i do ...
Hannah - Statesville, Nc
My husband and I recently heard this song on American Idol, he asked me who it was and I quickly advised, ROY ORBISON, we have been looking for Wicked Games for the past three days, online and in stores, we just found out the it was Chris Isaak. We both love this song and are happy to have found it, we will return the several unopen CD's of Roy Orbison we purchased.Ellie - Binghamton, Ny
Stone Sour covered it on their latest album Come What(ever) May, but I personally prefer HIM's version.Bri - Brecktucky, Mi
Absolutely fabulous song, though the video isn't so likeable.
And tbh I like three days grace's version a lot better. But oh well! =D
Elena - Port M., Australia
I love music, ALL music, all genres from 1900 - 2008. Seriously, I have some obscure stuff - ONE favorite song ever! I have probably 10+ different versions of it at least from classic Chris (who still does it best)and the above mentioned covers. I love the Gregorian Chant, the unplugged version and even the latest by Gaint Drag... As for Chris, I don't even find him attractive, but that rock-a-billy sultry voice of his makes anything he sings S-E-X-Y! Hot, hot, hot - I'm sure Roy and Elvis are proud of him!Erin - Portland, Or
If you put this on and don't score, there is something wrong with you.Terry - Chicago, Il
My late father introduced me to Chris Isaak's music, when my dad passed away I had them play the instrumental version of Wicked Game at the funeral. Truly beautiful music.Paul - Worthing, England
Sexy song. Great video.Matthew - East Brunswick, Nj
Roy Orbison was one of his influences.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
saw chris in conceet this summer great concert, 20 min in to the conceert he palyed song. great song .Tony - Manitowoc, Wi
Chris Isaak's voice reminds me of another great singer, Roy Orbison. This melody is haunting. This is the song my husband and I fell in love too. I know it's about love lost, but ironically it is our special song.Bridgett - Fort Worth, Tx

It fit so well in "WILD AT HEART"

Another tune in the same realm is "Cant Do A Thing (to stop me) from his SAN FRANSISCO DAYS LP.

Autograph hounds are ROYAL PESTS!
Steve - Salt Lake City, Ut
came to Australia a few years back..... a friend went up to him after the show to get an autograph..he said can't ,you gotta buy something
then i'll sigh it
bah humbug
Pete - Nowra, Australia
yeah real sexy...the guy came to Australia wouldn't sign an autograph unless you bought one of his t shirts or albums .....boooo, booooooPete - Nowra, Australia
sexiest and most erotic song and video ever...song was covered by finnish band HIM (his infernal majesty)..and that version is also super and even more erotic because vokal VILLE VALO has a deep,strong and sensual voice...Sarah - Cazin, Bosnia
I first heard this song when I was 11 years old. At the time I lived in a latin american country and dind't know any English. And even when I didn't understand the lyrics, I fell in love with the song! It wasn't until a few year ago I heard the song over the radio again. Understanding the lyrics made me fall in love with the song all over again.Fran - Miami, Fl
The song was also covered by HIMBrandon - Brentwood, Tn
sexiest music video everVictor - Vienna, Va
This song is also covered by R.E.M.Gabriel - Trujillo, South America
When love goes wrong, you hear this song, and everything fades away. My girl left me, along with my heart and now it'll never mend. Now when i hear wicked game i listen to it begining to end then begining to end. -Rob FreerPatrick - Goodrich, Mn
yeah this song is sexy as hell but do you realize this song is very relatable. He's talking about someone who tempted him into love with them and then broke his heart and the poor guy can't believe it even happened, but he realizes that it happens to the best of us I guess. Good work chris.Mikey - Ashtabula, Oh
This song is redone by the very talented band "HIM". They do 2 to 3 different versions of it and as well do such an amazing job with it. They have updated the music to a harder rock form in the most beautiful way imaginable, and the lead singer's voice is amazing. I recommend everyone to have a listen!Jeannie - Marathon, Canada
there you go the movie im talking about is north shore! 1987...... the song wicked game was in this. yet it wasnt released as a single until 1989..... bizare yet wasnt a hit in australia til 1989Marlow - Perth, Australia
it wasnt in the australian charts until 1991... although i heard it played in a movie about surfing starring nia peeples, supposedly made in 1987.Marlow - Perth, Australia
I agree: sexy, sultry, sensual. Music to make love to! The only song in which Chris' incessant yodeling doesn't put my spine in a knot.Chris - Hull, Ma
This is the absolute sexiest song I've ever heard.Modi Palmer - Houston, Tx
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