1981 - Meets former Lovin' Spoonful producer Erik Jacobsen, who becomes his careerlong
Circa 1983-4 - After initially being turned down by the label, Isaak signs a contract with Warner
Bros. Records and records his first album.
Feb. 5, 1985 - "Silvertone," his debut album, is
released. Critics love it, but it sells just 12,000 copies (though it's now gone
1985 - Bassist Rowland Salley and drummer Kenney Date Johnson join
Silvertone, and the band begins a tireless string of small club dates in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
1987 - His second album
"Chris Isaak" is released; Isaak makes his first appearances on the "Tonight Show"
(then hosted by Johnny Carson) and David Letterman's late night talk show (he's now a regular on Letterman and Jay Leno's
"Tonight" show); Silvertone wins its first Bammie (Bay Area Music
Award) as best club band; Isaak opens a show for - and befriends - one of his
heroes, Roy Orbison.
- Though he'd played a bit part in a docudrama about jazzman Chet Baker, Isaak makes his full-blown acting debut (sort of), playing a clown hit man in Jonathan Demme's
"Married to the Mob"; Silvertone again wins the best-club band Bammie; despite disappointing sales. Warner
Bros. renews his contract, switching him to its Reprise label. His "Suspicion of Love" appears on the
"Married Io the Mob" soundtrack, the first of 16 soundtracks and compilations on which his songs have been
included. Canadian chanteuse K.d. Lang records Isaak's "Western Stars" on her
1989 - His third album, "Heart Shaped World;" is
released. It contains a moody ballad called "Wicked Game" that the record compary chooses not to release as a single. Silvertone threepeats as the Bammies'best club
1990 - Director David Lynch uses an instrumental version of
"Wicked Game" during a pivotal late-night highway scene in a movie called "Wild at
1991 - An Atlanta radio DJ seeks out the full version of
"Wicked Game" and plays it on the air. It becomes a No. 6 national single and goes
gold. A sexy black-and-white video goes into heavy MTV rotation and, on Sept. 5, wins three MTV Video
Awards. "Heart Shaped World" goes platinum (and, since then,
double-platinum), and Isaak appears on the covers of Rolling Stone, People and Details magazines and gets three-dotted in Herb Caen's San Francisco Chronicle
column. He opens a U.S. summer tour for Bonnie Raitt and makes a triumphant return to San Francisco with back-to-back sellouts at the
Warfield. He plays a SWAT team commander in Demme's Academy Award-winning "the Silence of the
- Isaak wins a Bammie as Musician of the Year and plays FBI agent Chester Desmond in
"Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me," a Lynch movie based on the cultish "Twin
Peaks" TV series.
1993 - His fourth album, "San Francisco Days," is
released. Wilsey leaves the band, ultimately being replaced by Hershel Yatovitz. Isaak opens a U.S. tour for Tina Turner.
1994 - Isaak and Silvertone win three Bammies. Isaak plays Seattle yuppie Dean Conrad in
"Little Buddha," a Bernardo Bertolucci film that stars Keanu Reeves. Isaak records
"Blue Moon" for an Elvis Presley tribute album ("It's Now Or
Never") and performs it on a TV special, backed by guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer DJ Fontana, former members of Presley's
"Forever Blue", an album of sad songs prompted by the breakup of his romance with manager Sonya
Chang, is released and goes platinum. He tapes an "MTV Unplugged" segment,and his national tour ends with two sold-out shows at the
Warfield. An unknown band called the Wallffowers opens. UOP names him its Oustanding Young Alumnus of the
1996 - Isaak is nominated for two Grammy Awards, but Alanis Morissette (rock
album) and Tom Petty (male rock vocal) win."Baja Sessions," an informal acoustic album inspired by a vacation in Mexico, is released and goes
gold. It includes Isaak's first self-produced song ("Think Of
Tomorrow"). Isaak and Silvertone sweep five Bammie Awards, including a second Musician of the Year for Isaak. Isaak appears as Uncle Bob in a Tom Hanks-directed film
("That Thing You Do!") and as Matthew Lewis in a film called "Grace of My
Heart". He plays a musically challenged librarian during a Super Bowl Sunday segment of TV's
1998 - His seventh album, the harder-rocking
"Speak of the Devil," is released and reaches gold status. It includes more self-produced tracks and a collaboration
("Breaking Apart") with Grammy Award-winning Songwriter Diane Warren. He plays astronaut Ed White - his first nonfictional role - in Hanks'HBO series
"From the Earth to the Moon" and is featured on VH1 "Hard Rock Live" . He also plays a rural sheriff in an Independent film called
"Blue Ridge Fall".
1999 - He wins a Bammie as California's best male vocalist - the 13th for him and members of Silvertone - and co-hosts the awards Show. He inducts Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame. "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing," a song from "Forever Blue" is used in a steamy Nicole Kidman-Tom Cruise scene in
"Eyes Wide Shut", director Stanley Kubrick's final film. It also becomes a Lexus commercial. VH1 names
"Wicked Game" the No. 9 video of the 90's.
Aug. 28, 1999 - He draws his biggest Bay Area crowd (5.729) and box-office gross
($ 178,832) ever at Berkeley's Greek Theatre.
Nov. 3,1999 - All available tickets for Isaak's first
post -"Silvertone" show in Stockton sell out in seven hours. A second show is
Dec. 12,1999 - He joins B.B. King, Jewel, Christina Aguilera and the Backstreet Boys for TNT's "Christmas in Washington," singing a rockabilly version of
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (with the Boys) and Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" - then singing along with Bill and Hillary Clinton during the finale.
Dec. 19,1999 - In a San Francisco Chronicle critics'ranking of the
"Bay Area's All-Time Best Bands", Isaak is No. 16 on a list of 100. He ranks 11th on the
Dec. 29,1999 - Isaak receives a ceremonial "key to the city" of Stockton at City Hall.