Angelo Badalamenti, ‘Twin Peaks’ composer, dead at 85

Angelo Badalamenti, the composer and collaborator of David Lynch, best known for the music for Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet, has died. He was 85.

“The family of composer Angelo Badalamenti confirms that he died of natural causes surrounded by his family on December 11,” Kraft-Engel Management’s Laura Engel, his agent and dear friend since 2005, told The Times on Monday. “He was a loving husband, father and grandfather.”

Badalamenti and Lynch have been collaborating for a long time, and the composer once called their relationship “my second best marriage in the world.”

“Some of the happiest moments I’ve ever had were with Angelo,” Lynch told The Times’ Chris Willman in 1990 of his classically trained partner. “He has a big heart and he allowed me to come into his world and engage in music.

“When we started working together we had a kind of rapport straight away – I knew nothing about music but was very interested in sound effects and moods. I realized a lot of things about sound effects and music working with Angelo, how close they are.”

The two bonded when Isabella Rossellini needed a vocal coach to help her with a song for the 1986 film Blue Velvet. A producer suggested Badalamenti, who until then had worked on little-known films as well as in advertising and theater. He stayed to co-write the song “Mysteries of Love” for Julee Cruise.

Badalamenti stayed on to compose the full orchestral score for “Blue Velvet” and appeared in the film as a pianist under the professional name Andy Badale. The musician said he used the pseudonym early in his film career, until he “saw the beautiful names Rossellini and De Laurentiis, and then I started dialing Angelo Badalamenti.”

“When we were talking about the main theme of the title, David said, ‘It has to be like Shostakovich, very Russian, but make it the prettiest, but make it dark and a little bit scary,'” Badalamenti said in 1990.

When his music was paired with Lynch’s “Blue Velvet,” audiences were treated to a beautiful melody on a disturbing, abstract background.

“I guess that’s the darker side of me,” Badalamenti said. “I think the music that comes out of it is very beautiful. One of the things I just did for Twin Peaks is 15 minutes long and it’s called The Lowest Circle in Hell. And it’s just very low, dark, enduring things that are so beautiful to me…Maybe a little strange to others, but to me it’s transcendent,” he continued. “And I love putting these things as a bed against something that might be a little tastier.”

The largely instrumental “Soundtrack to Twin Peaks”, which featured mostly Badalamenti’s compositions along with three songs sung by Cruise, peaked at number 22 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and was certified gold with more than half a million copies sold.

The composer also won the 1991 Grammy for pop instrumental performance for his “Twin Peaks Theme,” beating Kenny G, Phil Collins, Quincy Jones and Stanley Jordan.

Other films Badalamenti has voiced include Lynch’s 2006 Mulholland Drive, Neil LaBute’s 2006 The Wicker Man starring Nicolas Cage, 1987’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and the 1987 documentary Koi 2019 over the 2011 tsunami hit Japan.

Badalamenti was born on March 22, 1937 in Brooklyn. He began taking piano lessons at the age of 8 and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1958 and a master’s degree in 1959 from the Manhattan School of Music. Angelo Badalamenti, ‘Twin Peaks’ composer, dead at 85

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Sarah Ridley is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Sarah Ridley joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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