Best known for his work on Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, Badalamenti also worked with the likes of David Bowie and Nina Simone
Angelo Badalamenti, the celebrated composer who composed some of David Lynch’s most memorable scores, died on Sunday (December 11) at the age of 85. According to his niece, he died of natural causes, surrounded by his family at his home in Lincoln Park, New Jersey.
David Lynch also appeared to address his friend and collaborator’s death in his daily weather report, saying: “Today, no music.”
A classically trained composer, Badalamenti was born in Brooklyn in 1937, and graduated from the Manhattan Shool of Music in 1960. During college holidays, he also accompanied performers to resorts in the Catskills, where he learned to play a variety of genres, which influenced his wide-ranging career.
Working at a music publisher, Badalamenti would go on to write for iconic musicians such as Nina Simone and Shirley Bassey. Later, he also collaborated with the likes of David Bowie, Marianne Faithfull, Pet Shop Boys, Anthrax, and LL Cool J. In 1992, he wrote the theme that accompanied the opening ceremony at the Barcelona Olympics.
Badalamenti will be remembered most fondly, though, for his haunting and atmospheric film scores. Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) marked the pair’s first collaboration, spawning the Julee Cruise song “Mysteries of Love”, and sparking a longstanding friendship. The composer would go on to work closely with Lynch, creating soundtracks for Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), Lost Highway (1997), The Straight Story (1999), and Mulholland Drive (2001).
“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. “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 realised a lot of things about sound effects and music working with Angelo, how close they are to one another.”
For more of an insight into Badalamenti and Lynch’s impressionistic working relationship, watch Badalamenti recall composing “Laura Palmer’s Theme” below. RIP.