"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 1989 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 Isaak's career.
It has subsequently been covered by many other artists and been featured in numerous high profile movies and television series and advertisements, so much so that Dazed magazine questioned whether it might be the most influential love song in modern music.
The song is in the key of B Dorian performed in what AllMusic describes as a "brooding, sorrowfully conflicted" tone.
Often interpreted as a ballad about unrequited love, Isaak himself has said that the song was inspired by a telephone call from a girl seeking to arrange a casual sexual liaison and is about "what happens when you have a strong attraction to people that aren't necessarily good for you." It was written in short order following the call.
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.
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 at what was formerly known as Kamoamoa beach in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island in Hawaii. The newly-formed black sand beach was created from lava from Kilauea Volcano flowing into the ocean about a mile away. The beach was covered by lava not long after the video was shot. The video featured supermodel Helena Christensen rolling and frolicking on the beach with Isaak. It was mostly filmed in black and white. Isaak and Christensen were shirtless through most of the video, although her nudity was concealed by clever camera angles. In the middle of the video, Christensen was seen only in her black lace bra & panties. 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.
Another video was commissioned for the Wild at Heart VHS release and was directed by David Lynch himself. It features scenes of Lula (Laura Dern) and Sailor (Nicolas Cage) from the film, interspersed with black and white footage of Isaak performing the song.
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