Sad news to report today as acclaimed Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti has died at the age of 85. The composer was best known for his frequent collaborations with David Lynch. His niece, Frances Badalamenti, told THR that he died on Sunday of natural causes, surrounded by family at his home.
Angelo Badalamenti’s haunting and beautiful theme for Twin Peaks was merely one of his many collaborations with David Lynch. He composed music for Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Lost Highway, The Straight Story, and Mulholland Drive. He also returned for the Twin Peaks revival series on Showtime. Badalamenti’s work can be heard on A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The City of Lost Children, Arlington Road, The Beach, Auto Focus, Cabin in the Woods, A Very Long Engagement, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, The Wicker Man, and more.
Angelo Badalamenti’s relationship with David Lynch was rooted in improvisation, with the pair getting together and letting the music pour out as Lynch described the scenes. “I sit with Angelo and talk to him about a scene and he begins to play those words on the piano,” Lynch told The New York Times in 2005. “Sometimes we would even get together and make stuff up on the piano, and before you know it that leads to the idea for a scene or a character. When we started working together, we had an instant kind of a rapport — me not knowing anything about music but real interested in mood and sound effects. I realized a lot of things about sound effects and music working with Angelo, how close they are to one another.” In the same interview, Badalamenti added, “David’s visuals are very influenced by the music. The tempo of music helps him set the tempo of the actors and their dialogue and how they move. He would sit next to me at a keyboard describing what he was thinking as I would improvise the score. Almost all of Twin Peaks was written without me seeing a single frame, at least in the pilot.“
In addition to his work on movies and television, Angelo Badalamenti also collaborated with numerous musical artists throughout his career, including Nima Simone, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Marianne Faithful, Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli, Anthrax, LL Cool J, and more.