Chris Isaak - Blue Hotel

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Chris Isaak – true original or Sun Records knock off? There are compelling arguments for both sides, but my opinion lies firmly in the former. Chris Isaak’s 1st two records sometimes get overlooked due to the worldwide success of his later records (and who hasn’t heard or seen the video for 1989’s Wicked Game?). They show an artist honing his craft, taking his influences and spinning them into something he could call his own. David Lynch was certainly a fan – he featured Isaak’s music in several of his films and cast him as a lead actor in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. The 1987 single Blue Hotel embodies everything that is great about the music of Chris Isaak – surf guitar, 50’s vibe, impassioned singing – all married to a melody that is insanely memorable. Watching the video and listening to this tune, I can’t help but think of another artist that was inspired by Isaak’s penchant for 50’s noir – Lana Del Rey. The way Isaak belts out the lyrics “Blue Hotel, on a lonely highway / Blue Hotel, life don’t work out my way / I wait alone each lonely night” and marries it surf guitar licks delivered with urgency is perfect. The song was a minor hit overseas when it was released as single and never cracked the charts in the US.

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