Composer Angelo Badalamenti, who scored ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘Blue Velvet’ and more, dead at 85

The famed composer helped shape the otherwordly feel of Lynch's projects, contributing music to 'Lost Highway', 'Mulholland Drive' and others

Angelo Badalamenti, whose compositions considerably shaped the mood of David Lynch films and series including Twin PeaksBlue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, has died at the age of 85.

Badalamenti’s death was confirmed by multiple relatives of the famed composer, with his niece Frances Badalamenti telling The Hollywood Reporter he died of natural causes on Sunday (December 11) surrounded by family, at his home in New Jersey.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937, Badalamenti began taking piano lessons at a young age, and received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. His early film scoring work included writing music for 1973’s Gordon’s War and 1974’s Law And Disorder, but his major break came when he composed the score and supervised the soundtrack for David Lynch’s 1986 film Blue Velvet.


The film was the first in a career spent collaborating with Lynch on various other projects, along with frequent Lynch collaborator, singer Julee Cruise. Badalamenti is perhaps best known for working with Lynch on Twin Peaks (and the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me), helping define the surreal, otherworldly feel of the mystery series.

While working on the series’ score, Lynch would often describe to Badalamenti the moods and feelings he wanted to create. The series’ signature theme, the ‘Love Theme From Twin Peaks’, was written in 20 minutes, with Lynch telling Badalamenti: “You just wrote 75 per cent of the score. It’s the mood of the whole piece. It is Twin Peaks.”

In 1991, Badalamenti won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the Twin Peaks theme. He would go on to score Twin Peaks‘ 2017 revival, featuring new compositions and material from the original series.

Other collaborations with Lynch included 1990’s Wild At Heart, 1997’s Lost Highway, 1999’s The Straight Story and 2001’s Mulholland Drive. He made small appearances onscreen in a handful of the Lynch films he worked on, including Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive.

Outside of his work with Lynch, Badalamenti also worked on the soundtracks for films such as A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream WarriorsNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and The Wicker Man, and collaborated with a range of other musicians. Artists he worked with over the years include David Bowie, Marianne Faithfull, James‘ Tim Booth, OrbitalThe Cranberries‘ Dolores O’Riordan, Pet Shop Boys and Anthrax.


“Tonight I will raise my glass to my beautiful friend, the Bad Angel, Angelo Badalamenti,” Booth wrote on Twitter, remembering his collaborator. “He taught me many things but primarily how to enjoy the recording process. We laughed from the beginning to the end of the record we made together, never had a disagreement. I love him.”

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