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IT'S ALIVE: Chris Isaak "Wicked Game" (MTV Unplugged, 1995)

It's Alive briefly devotes the airwaves to live music everyday at 1pm. Tune in today hear this performance and more live tracks!

Today we celebrate singer-songwriter Chris Isaak, born on this day in 1956. Isaak has been actively releasing music since 1978, and is known for his rockabilly-inspired style and wide vocal range.

Isaak was a focused student before making music his priority; he was class president throughout high school, and graduated as student body president and valedictorian. It wasn’t until after earning his bachelor’s degree in English and communications in 1981 that he started his first band, the Silvertones (named after the guitar brand). They would remain Isaak’s permanent band throughout his career.

The Californian musician is also close friends with filmmaker David Lynch, who featured an instrumental version of Isaak’s signature song “Wicked Game” in his 1990 film Wild at Heart. Lee Chestnut, avid Lynch fan and Atlanta radio station music director, added the vocal version to rotation and it quickly became their most-requested song. By February 1991, the song’s popularity spread to the point of becoming a Billboard certified top 10 hit, peaking at number 6.

This clip finds Isaak performing the signature tune during his 1995 MTV Unplugged concert.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org