My generation was listening to the Beatles or the Stones and I’d be listening to Hank Williams or Ernest Stubbs.” Stumbling across the original Sun records was like an epiphany for him.
“I was listening to all this stuff, hard country and soul music, but I didn’t put any of it together.
“There was a misconception about me when I started off because I had my hair greased up and I have some vague resemblance to the hillbilly gene pool that Elvis came from.
I can sing loud if I want to, I just don’t usually step on the gas. Everyone was just bouncing along on the same rhythm.” While he never replicated his Eighties success in Europe, in America he has remained more of a star, and after the film roles – in Bertolucci’s Little Buddha and The Silence of the Lambs among others – had dried up, diversified into becoming a TV show presenter.The heartbreak is real but sometimes I think I am just a very average, redneck guy.When I was growing up and doing boxing, people were surprised I sang these songs that most guys don’t sing.” For all his tender lyrics and model good looks he has never married, repeating to me the well-worn story of his regret over a lost teenage love.It was only when I heard the Sun stuff that I had this 'wow’ moment that everyone in America must have had back in the Fifties. I couldn’t take my guitar and, with the two or three chords I knew, sound like Fleetwood Mac. It completed everything that I had listened to before.” With his long-term band, Isaak went back to the original Memphis studios where Phillips had patiently coaxed those extraordinary flashes of genius from his aspiring stars.He was amazed to find that the small room Phillips had roughly thrown together, with a sloping roof and home-made acoustic amplifications, was virtually unchanged. I’m not the kind of guy to talk about angels: I’m a very pragmatic kind of guy.