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"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.

"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 November 8, 1990
Recorded 1988
Genre Torch song
Length 4:46
Label Reprise
Songwriter(s) Chris Isaak
Producer(s) Erik Jacobsen
Chris Isaak singles chronology
"Don't Make Me Dream About You"
"Wicked Game"
"String Module Error: Match not found"
"Don't Make Me Dream About You"
"Wicked Game"
"Blue Hotel" (re-release)



The song is written in the mode of B Dorian[1] and it is a ballad about unrequited love,[2][3] performed in what AllMusic describes as a "brooding, sorrowfully conflicted" tone.[4]

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.[5]

Music videosEdit

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 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.

A previous version of the video was commissioned for the Wild at Heart soundtrack, and was directed by David Lynch.[6]

Track listingsEdit


Charts and certificationsEdit

HIM cover versionEdit

"Wicked Game"
Single by HIM
from the album Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666
Released September 28, 1998
Format CD Single
Length 3:54
Songwriter(s) Chris Isaak
HIM singles chronology
"Your Sweet Six Six Six"
"Wicked Game"
"Join Me in Death"
"Your Sweet Six Six Six"
"Wicked Game"
"Join Me in Death"

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.[citation needed] 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."[citation needed]

Track listingsEdit

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

Il Divo cover versionEdit

"Wicked Game (Melanconia)"
Single by Il Divo
Released 4 November 2011
Length 4:16
Label Syco Music
Songwriter(s) Chris Isaak
Producer(s) Per Magnusson; David Kreuger
Il Divo singles chronology
"The Time of Our Lives"
"Wicked Game (Melanconia)"
"Por una Cabeza"
"The Time of Our Lives"
"Wicked Game"
"Por una Cabeza"

Il Divo bought the copyright, and covered the song in the classical crossover genre, performing the song in his lyrical voice, in Italian. It was included on his 2011 album Wicked Game.[26]

Gemma Hayes cover versionEdit

"Wicked Game"
Single by Gemma Hayes
Released March 10, 2012 Ireland
March 12, 2012 International
Recorded January 2012
Length 4:05
Label GH Records
Songwriter(s) Chris Isaak
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.[27]

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.

In March 2015, a video musical session was recorded playing this song at St. Patrick's Chapel - Irish Cultural Center, Paris.[28]

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.[29] The track was released on iTunes on 12 March 2012.[30] The song performed well in the charts peaking at #5 in Canada, #4 in Ireland, #3 in France and #1 in Sweden.[31]

Parra for Cuva cover versionEdit

"Wicked Games"
Single by Parra for Cuva featuring Anna Naklab
Released 14 October 2013
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2013
Length 3:15
Label Spinnin' Deep
Songwriter(s) Chris Isaak
Parra for Cuva singles chronology
"Wicked Games"
"String Module Error: Match not found"
(String Module Error: Match not found)
"Wicked Games"
Fading Nights
Anna Naklab singles chronology
"Something Near"
(2013) Something Near2013
"Wicked Games"
(2013) Wicked Games2013
Fading Nights String Module Error: Match not foundString Module Error: Match not found

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 listingEdit

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


Chart (2013–14) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[32] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[33] 15
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[34] 21
France (SNEP)[35] 72
Germany (Official German Charts)[36] 89
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[37] 40
Ireland (IRMA)[38] 54
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[39] 6
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[40] 4
UK Dance (Official Charts Company)[41] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[42] 6


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[43] Gold 35,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

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

Other versionsEdit



  1. ^ "'Wicked Game' sheet music". Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Kim, Jae-Ha (21 April 1991). "Chris Isaak finally wins success in wicked game". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (17 February 1991). "Isaak's 'Wicked Game' a Surprise Smash". L.A. Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Huey, Steve. "Wicked Game - Chris Isaak". allmusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Classic Tracks: Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game"". 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  6. ^ Claire PITTARD. "US Screencaps - Wicked Game". Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
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  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
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  13. ^ " – Chris Isaak Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  14. ^ Irish Single Chart Archived 2009-06-03 at WebCite (Retrieved February 23, 2008)
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Chris Isaak" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  16. ^ " – Chris Isaak – Wicked Game". Top 40 Singles.
  17. ^ " – Chris Isaak – Wicked Game". Singles Top 100.
  18. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  19. ^ a b c Billboard (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  20. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 122. 
  21. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1991". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Single top 100 over 1991" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  23. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1991". Archived from the original on 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  24. ^ U.S. certifications Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved August 9, 2008)
  25. ^ UK certifications Archived 2013-07-21 at WebCite (Retrieved May 16, 2015)
  26. ^ "New Il Divo Album Announced!". Archived from the original on 2014-01-12. 
  27. ^ "Gemma Hayes wicked game Galway". YouTube. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  28. ^ Gemma Hayes - Wicked Game
  29. ^ "PLL Wicked Game - Gemma Hayes". YouTube. 
  30. ^ "iTunes - Music - Wicked Game - Single by Gemma Hayes". iTunes. 
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-11. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  32. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  33. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  34. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  35. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab – Wicked Games" (in French). Les classement single.
  36. ^ " – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  37. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége.
  38. ^ "Chart Track: Week 47, 2014". Irish Singles Chart.
  39. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Parra For Cuva feat. Anna Naklab" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  40. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  41. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  42. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  43. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2015 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  44. ^ "IN FLAMES Covers DEPECHE MODE, ALICE IN CHAINS, NINE INCH NAILS On 'Down, Wicked & No Good' EP". Blabbermouth. November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  45. ^ "THE 2017 BOSTON CRUSADERS PRESENT: WICKED GAMES". May 19, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017. 
  46. ^ "Wicked Game - Single by Johnny Osma on Apple Music". 
  47. ^ "iTunes - Music - Wicked Game - Single by Gemma Hayes". 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  48. ^ St.Jon (2015-11-04), WICKED GAME - ST.JON (Chris Isaak Cover), retrieved 2016-02-14 
  49. ^ "Forza Horizon 3 Official E3 Trailer". YouTube. Microsoft Studios. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  50. ^ Hryb, Larry (13 June 2016). "Playlist: Music Heard During The Xbox E3 2016 Briefing". Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  51. ^ "WESTLEIGH Wicked Game by Modern Machine". Soundcloud. 
  52. ^ East of Eli  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  53. ^ "Wicked Game - Katie Kim by KATIE KIM on SoundCloud - Hear the world's sounds". Retrieved 2014-08-05. 

External linksEdit