Angelo Badalamenti The Composer of “Twin Peaks,” Passed Away on Sunday at Age 85

The composer of many adored soundtracks, including David Lynch’s cult classic “Twin Peaks,” Angelo Badalamenti, passed away at age 85.

The author Frances Badalamenti, his niece, said that he had passed away.

Over five decades, Badalamenti composed the scores for several movies, working with filmmakers like Jane Campion, Danny Boyle, and Paul Schrader. The eccentric filmmaker David Lynch, with whom he collaborated on “Twin Peaks,” its companion movie “Fire Walk With Me,” and the show’s 2017 revival, as well as other projects like “Blue Velvet” and “Mulholland Drive,” is arguably best recognized for creating some of the most famous works of all time.

Lynch’s frequently strange and unsettling works were matched by Badalamenti’s synthetic, jazzy, menacing tones.

Lynch and Badalamenti Worked Together for Many Years

The Brooklyn-born Badalamenti was a musical jack-of-all-trades before becoming a film composer. After finishing college, he worked as a teacher in a public school in Brooklyn while writing the music for a televised version of “A Christmas Carol.” Even though the films didn’t do well, he composed music for Nina Simone and Gordon’s War and scored Law and Disorder. He frequently published during this time using the alias Andy Badale.

Badalamenti’s career had been going slowly when he met Lynch on the set of the director’s 1986 movie “Blue Velvet,” which turned things around. The pianist was hired to assist the title song’s lead singer, Isabella Rossellini, in her performance.

When the filmmakers were looking for a composer to music for the movie, Badalamenti won Lynch over with a tune he wrote called “The Mysteries of Love,” to which Lynch later added words.

Angelo Badalamenti died
Angelo Badalamenti died

The two creative powerhouses worked closely together. As Badalamenti composed Laura Palmer’s theme for “Twin Peaks,” Lynch sat next to him at the keyboard and painted the scene: Lynch heard an owl hooting, saw gloomy woods, and heard a gentle wind blowing through a sycamore tree.

But when he told Badalamenti that Palmer herself was lurking among the trees, the music became more upbeat.

As Lynch spoke, Badalamenti would play, changing the tempo as Lynch continued. Lynch jumped up to give Badalamenti a bear hug once he had done narrating the scenes.

I see “Twin Peaks,” he remarked, so don’t modify a note or do anything else. In a video describing his compositional method, Badalamenti stated, “And that’s how it was done.”

The Fender Rhodes Mark I electric keyboard, made in the middle of the 1970s, was the instrument used by Badalamenti to write the music for “Twin Peaks,” as well as many other of Lynch’s projects. Although it was “kind of beat up,” according to Badalamenti, the instrument emphasized the unsettling, frequently nightmare-like aspects of Lynch’s works.

When asked about his “Twin Peaks” score in 2019, Badalamenti replied, “I attempted to have the music have a disturbing atmosphere. The eerie tones and off-kilter instrumentals have been there for me since I was a young child.”

Most of the soundtracks for Lynch’s works have that eerie vibe, except “The Straight Story,” albeit the synths were still present owing to the Fender Rhodes Mark I. Compared to standard Lynch stuff, it is a much more positive, personal story with an appropriate soundtrack.

Between soundtracks for Lynch, Badalamenti also created music for shows, including “Inside the Actors Studio,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.” He even wrote the torch theme for Barcelona’s 1992 Summer Olympics.

Even on those pieces, Badalamenti incorporated some of his distinctive melodic characteristics, notably the subdued darkness that permeates most of his soundtracks.

He once said to his niece Frances in an interview from 2019: “There are certain things I put into the songs I make.” “You can recognize it. I delight in how I use certain dissonant things that way.”

Fans and Companions Remember Badalamenti

Both movie buffs and music fans lamented the passing of Badalamenti. Scott Tobias, a writer for the movie industry, recalled the moment he realized “Twin Peaks” was exceptional.

Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack, which Tobias described as reminiscent of a primetime soap opera but bursting with emotion and intrigue, is where it all begins. One of the very best

The actor who portrayed the odd, coffee-loving Agent Dale Cooper on “Twin Peaks,” Kyle MacLachlan, referred to Badalamenti as a “great and accomplished composer who was a master at generating a mood.”

Frances Badalamenti claimed that her uncle’s invaluable counsel helped her develop her self-assurance as a writer.

According to her remark to CNN, “the counsel was not to follow your ambitions, that is too willy-nilly.” “It’s important to push hard and follow your passion. Take the raw talent you possess and run with it. And after accomplishing that, he has left us with these gifts of authentic art, this lovely, visceral art.”

In his daily weather report, which he posts on YouTube, Lynch seemed to pay tribute to his former collaborator in a subdued, predictably unusual fashion.

Lynch began Monday’s video by saying, “Here in L.A., it’s rainy, cloudy, and extremely still right now,” before giving the temperature in both degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius. “No music today.”

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