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Chris Isaak is a singer-songwriter and actor with several gold records and notable appearances in films by David Lynch, Jonathan Demme and John Waters.
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In 1988, while continuing to record, Isaak branched out into acting. He had a small part in Jonathan Demme's organized crime comedy, Married to the Mob. In the film, which starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine,
Isaak played a clown—not a huge stretch for the famously witty and entertaining performer. Offers for more substantial film roles would soon follow for the singer.
Isaak's third album, Heart Shaped World (1989) proved to be a breakthrough effort for the singer, when famed director David Lynch used an instrumental version of Isaak's song "Wicked Game" for the film Wild at Heart (1991). A disc jockey in Atlanta took notice of the haunting track and started playing Isaak's album version—complete with vocals—on his station. The song soon caught on with listeners, and the album started to climb the charts in America as well as around the world. Reaching as high as number six on the Billboard pop charts in 1991, "Wicked Game" gave Isaak's career a tremendous boost.
Soon, Herb Ritts' unforgettable video of the song helped make Isaak a multi-media star and sex symbol. In the video, Isaak famously nuzzled model Helena Christensen on the beach. Not surprisingly, the steamy clip proved to be wildly popular with both sexes. Another track from the album, "Don't Make Me Dream About You," would also earn significant airplay, turning Heart Shaped Box into a multi-platinum album in the U.S. and a smash-hit internationally.
Just as his music career was taking off, Isaak was also offered numerous film opportunities. He played small roles in Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs (1991) and David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992). Then, in Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha (1993), Isaak took on a co-starring role as the father of a boy who may be the reincarnation of a Buddhist teacher.
That same year, Isaak released his fourth album, San Francisco Days (1993). The mellow ballad, "Can't Do a Thing (To Stop Me)," was the album's breakout single. Two years later, Isaak released the acclaimed Forever Blue (1995), which contained the hit "Somebody's Crying." Both the song and the album were nominated for Grammy Awards. Another track from the platinum-selling album caught on later: Isaak's intense and bluesy "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing," featured prominently in Stanley Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999) starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
In 1996, Isaak followed up Forever Blue with his largely acoustic album, Baja Sessions. The album went gold, and found the singer recording some of his past classics in addition to some of his favorite songs, such as Roy Orbison's "Only The Lonely." For his next album, Speak of the Devil (1998), Isaak took a more electric, hard-rock turn on a collection of songs. The record included a collaboration between Isaak and famed songwriter Diane Warren called "Breaking Apart," as well as the standout track, "Please."
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