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Chris Isaak Biography

Home > Music > I > Isaak, Chris > Biography

Birth Name: Christopher Joseph Isaak
Born: 1956/06/26
Birth Place: Stockton, California
Years Active: 1984-present
Genres: Rock 'n' Roll, Roots Rock, Rockabilly, Surf Rock

Christopher Joseph "Chris" Isaak (born June 26, 1956) is an American rock musician and occasional actor.

Isaak signed a contract to Warner Bros. Records in 1984 for his debut album “Silvertone.” The tracks “Gone Ridin'” and “Livin' for Your Lover,” were featured in David Lynch's 1986 cult classic film “Blue Velvet.” Isaak's second, self-titled album “Chris Isaak” was released in 1986 and featured photography by fashion photographer Bruce Weber. Isaak's contract was renewed in 1988 when Warner Bros. moved him to their Reprise Records label.

His best-known song is "”Wicked Game.” Though released on the 1989 album “Heart Shaped World,” an instrumental version of the song was later featured in the 1990 David Lynch film “Wild at Heart.” Lee Chesnut, an Atlanta radio station music director who was obsessed with Lynch films, began playing the vocal version and it quickly became the station's most-requested song. Chesnut spread the word to other radio stations around the country and the single became a national Top 10 hit in February 1991. The music video for the song was directed by Herb Ritts and was a big MTV and VH1 hit; shot in black and white, it starred Isaak and Danish supermodel Helena Christensen rolling on the beach, embracing and whispering in each other's ears.

In 1995 Isaak split with long time guitarist James Calvin Wilsey, and that year's “Forever Blue”and the accompanying tour featured Hershel Yatovitz on guitar. In 1999, Isaak's “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” was featured in Stanley Kubrick's final film, “Eyes Wide Shut”, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The song is on his 1995 album “Forever Blue.”

Isaak also composed a theme song for U.S. late-night television variety/talk show, “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.” In 2001, Isaak starred in his own television show, “The Chris Isaak Show.” It aired from March 2001 to March 2004 in the United States on the cable television network Showtime. This adult comedy show featured Chris Isaak and his band playing themselves and the episode plots were based on fictional accounts of the backstage world of Chris Isaak—the rock star next door.

In 2004, his track “Life Will Go On"” was featured on “Chasing Liberty's” soundtrack, which starred Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode. His track "”Two Hearts” was featured in the closing credits of the 1993 film “True Romance,” directed by Tony Scott, written by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette.

Isaak's longtime producer, Erik Jacobsen, was instrumental in his sound for 15 years. Jacobsen is known for his production work with The Lovin' Spoonful, and solo albums from Spoonful's John Sebastian and Jerry Yester. Isaak ceased working with Jacobsen on his 2002 album, “Always Got Tonight.” In 2007 Isaak opened for Stevie Nicks on her Crystal Visions Tour during the first leg of the tour. Isaak collaborated with John Shanks for his 2009 album “Mr. Lucky.”

In October 2011 Isaak released an album called “Beyond the Sun,” which was recorded in Memphis, Tennessee at the Sun Records studio.