Through the years with Chris Isaak
from "The Record" (Stockton, CA) - Dec 22, 2000

June 26,1956 - Christopher Joseph Isaak is born at St. Joseph's Hospital in Stockton. 
Eight months later - His mother, Dorothy, notices him becoming emotionally moved by sad country songs he hears on the radio. 

1961-70 - Attends Stockton's Woodrow Wilson Elementary School and Daniel Webster Junior High. 
1971 - Gets his first guitar, an acoustic given to him by the brother of his first girlfriend, Carole Low. 
1973 - Elected president of the Stagg High School student body.

1974 - Graduates from Stagg High and enrolls at Delta College.

1977-78 - As a University of the Pacific student, he studies in Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan - working as a tour guide, getting a gig as a movie extra, doing some amateur boxing and discovering Elvis Presley's 1954 "Sun Sessions" recordings.

Circa 1979 - He and older brother Nick, playing acoustic guitars and harmonizing on rock 'n'roll and country oldies, fill in for an AWOL band at U0P, earning $50 for their first public performance. 
Circa 1980 - Isaak buys a Sears Silvertone electric guitar for $80 at a Stockton pawn shop. 
1980 - Graduates from UOP with degrees in communications arts and English and after failing to generate much interest in Stockton, heads to San Francisco - decked out in his thrift-shop threads - to "be in a band". After hanging out at clubs and singing with anyone who would listen, he forms the first version of his band, Silvertone, with guitar player James Calvin Wilsey, once a member of the Avengers, a pioneering San Francisco punk-rock band.


Roly, Chris, Jimmy and KenneyCirca 1981 - Meets former Lovin' Spoonful producer Erik Jacobsen, who becomes his careerlong producer. 

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 gold). 
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.

1988 - 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 "Shadowland" LP. 
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 band. 
1990 - Director David Lynch uses an instrumental version of "Wicked Game" during a pivotal late-night highway scene in a movie called "Wild at Heart"
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 Lambs"
1992 - 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 bands.

1995 - "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 Year. 
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 "Friends".

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 added. 
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 readers' poll.
Dec. 29,1999 - Isaak receives a ceremonial "key to the city" of Stockton at City Hall.



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