Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

4th July 2023 · 1980s, 1989, Music

Chris Isaak’s moody masterpiece being given a dub reggae makeover may not seem like a natural marriage – but it turns out to be a perfect match.

But we might never have heard Chris’s aching vocal or the desolate wail of that ’65 Stratocaster – played by James Calvin Wisley, one-time bassist of San Francisco punk band The Avengers – were it not for David Lynch plucking him from obscurity.

Isaak was on his third album by the time this was released as a single in 1989 and it soon disappeared from view like all his others.

Then, the following year, it appeared in Lynch’s film Wild At Heart (with Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern) and a year after that a radio DJ in Atlanta began to play it.

Before long it became a top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic, aided by an eye-catching video shot by fashion photographer Herb Ritts (below) on a beach in Hawaii, where Isaak frolics with a topless Helena Christensen – and another video shot by David Lynch, using clips of Lula and Sailor on the run in the movie.

Since then the song has been used in countless ads, movies and TV shows, and spawned countless cover versions.