Music Rewind: The Beauty of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game

Chris Isaak from Wicked Game Music Video

You may recognize the name, you may recognize the artist himself when you see him, there’s a good chance you know the song, there’s an even better chance you’ve seen the music video. Chris Isaak’s first hit song is also his biggest hit song. “Wicked Game” the single was released in 1989, but then two things happened that changed the trajectory of the song and of the artist himself.

The Movie…

Released in August 1990, David Lynch’s Wild At Heart was a dark comedy/romantic crime film that starred Nicholas Cage and Laura Dern. Lynch chose to use Wicked Game in the movie and that introduced the song to a whole new audience.

The Music Video…

Wild At Heart drew attention to the song, but the music video shot it to fame! If you grew up in the early 1990’s, there were two aspects of the song that most everyone recognized right away. First, the sexy and melodic guitar riff that opens the song (and plays throughout the song as well). Second, the sexy, hot, and romantic black and white video featuring the lovely Danish model, Helena Christensen. The whole video features Isaak and Christensen running and frolicking (there’s an underused word), and getting very personal on a beach. The song is sensual on its own, but the music video was the finishing touch.

The Song…

Wicked Game was originally released in July of 1989 and was from Isaak’s third album Heart Shaped World. Upon it’s re-release in 1991, after being featured in Wild At Heart, the song made it to Number 6 on the Billboard Top 100 list, and even made it to #1 in other countries. The song has been covered many times, most recently covered by Gina Miles on The Voice (and she did the song justice!).

The Artist…

Chris Isaak is often associated with the city of San Francisco, where he’s lived most of this life, but he was born in Stockton, California in 1956. Wicked Game may be his most known hit, but other popular songs include Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing, San Francisco Days, Blue Hotel, Don’t Make Me Dream, and Two Hearts to name a few. He also did covers of popular songs that fit his voice and style so well, that they could’ve been songs of his own… covers include Roy Orbison’s Only the Lonely, Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love, and Buddy Holly’s Crying, Waiting, Hoping. His backup band Silvertone, currently features Kenney Dale Johnson on drums, Rowland Salley on bass guitar, and Hershel Yatovitz on guitar (replacing original guitarist Calvin Wisley).

Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game is a song that has endured; 30+ years later and the song still gets acknowledged as one of the most romantic/sexy/hot songs and videos of all time. Whether listening to the song on it’s own, or listening as you watch the music video, you can’t help but feel good and daydream. That’s the beauty of music, when the artist and the song can take you into their own world while at the same time letting you get lost in your own. Enjoy the song, enjoy the video.


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