"Wicked Game" is a song by American rock musician Chris Isaak, released from his third studio albumHeart 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 BillboardHot 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.
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 Lovesongs 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."
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.
On 1 March 2012, gemmahayes.com confirmed her cover of "Wicked Game" would appear on Pretty Little Liars on 12 March and will be available to download as a single.
In March 2015, a video musical session was recorded playing this song at St. Patrick's Chapel - Irish Cultural Center, Paris.
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. The track was released on iTunes on 12 March 2012. The song performed well in the charts peaking at #5 in Canada, #4 in Ireland, #3 in France and #1 in Sweden.
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Anna Naklab singles chronology
(2013) Something Near2013
(2013) Wicked Games2013
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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.
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 featuring 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.
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.
The song was covered by husband and wife duo, actors Nathan West (who performs under the name East of Eli) and Chyler Leigh, who released the song, under the name "Westleigh", to their production studio, Modern Machine's Soundcloud.
Irish musician Katie Kim recorded a version of the song in 2004.