Preview: Isaak Recalls His First Experiences With Sound

We have a preview of Melissa Block's conversation with singer Chris Isaak, which airs on Thursday's program. Isaak tells Melissa about his first experiences with the sound of Sun Studio — and about the intimidation factor of recording his own versions of rock 'n' roll classics by his musical heroes Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And tomorrow on the program, a conversation with singer Chris Isaak about the music that first grabbed him as a kid in California.

CHRIS ISAAK: I remember early morning in my house, my brother putting on Jerry Lee Lewis music and it was...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BONNIE B")

ISAAK: (Singing) Well, my Bonnie-Bonnie B, she's like a real queen bee. She stands out among the others, you see. She makes me happy, made me feel so good. I wouldn't marry Bonnie B if I could.

We put that on and be jumping around the room getting ready for school. And it was just like exciting, rock and roll, happy music.

BLOCK: Now, Chris Isaak is channeling his inner Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash and Elvis with a musical salute to the singers who got their start at Sun Studio in Memphis in the '50s.

ISAAK: As Kenny, my drummer, told me to say, he said, Chris, you say you paid homage because I just simply say I ripped them off.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ISAAK: But, you know, you never want to go one-on-one against those guys because, I mean, for one, they're your heroes. For God's sakes, it's - you know, Roy Orbison.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CANDY MAN")

ISAAK: (Singing) A candy-colored clown they call the Sand Man tiptoes in.

You hear that and you go, nobody's ever going to ever do that any better. That's perfect. It's perfect. You know, the fact that no one's going to do it better doesn't stop me in my living room from singing it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PRETTY WOMAN")

ROY ORBISON: (Singing) Pretty woman walking down the street. Pretty woman...

BLOCK: More of my conversation with Chris Isaak tomorrow on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PRETTY WOMAN")

ORBISON: (Singing) Pretty woman. I...

MICHELE NORRIS, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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