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"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.
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