This nugget from Chris Isaak has become inescapable, it seems, popping up on commercials, on soundtracks, and set lists and albums of all sorts of different artists through the years. But it’s genuinely cool: so mysterious, moody, sultry, and evocative! More than a few have noted over the years that it sounds like the greatest song Roy Orbison never recorded. “Wicked Game” first turned up on Isaak’s Heart-Shaped World album in 1989, but it was its appearance in the crazy-good 1990 David Lynch film Wild at Heart that turned the song into a worldwide smash hit. After that, the floodgates opened and it’s been covered by such disparate performers as REM, Tangerine Dream, Pink, Maroon 5, Il Divo, the Finnish band HIM, and literally dozens more.
But nobody can sing it quite like Chris Isaak does (still!). Here he is with his crack band on MTV’s Unplugged way back in 1995. Chris and Hershel Yatovitz play a couple of nice Gibsons on this one. —Blair Jackson