Angelo Badalamenti, ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘Blue Velvet’ Composer, Dies at 85

Angelo Badalamenti arrives to The American Film Institute
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Angelo Badalamenti, the long-time David Lynch collaborator known for composing the iconic soundtracks to Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive, has died. He was 85.

Badalamenti passed away on Sunday, December 11, surrounded by family at his home in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. The composer’s grand-nephew later confirmed the passing on social media, writing, “My great uncle Angelo Badalamenti has crossed the barrier onto another plane of existence.”

The post continued, “A true musical and artistic inspiration for me and countless others. Stayed true to his roots and family, never leaving North Jersey for LA. Not to mention the casual but mind blowing true stories from his life he never ran out of. He will truly be missed by many.”


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Born on March 22, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, Badalamenti studied composition, French horn, and piano at the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1958 and a Master’s degree in 1959. He went on to work as a music teacher in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, while also writing songs and orchestrating for various popular performers.

His break into film and television came in the mid-1980s when he was brought in to be Isabella Rossellini‘s singing coach for the song “Blue Velvet” in Lynch’s 1986 film Blue Velvet. Badalamenti would end up composing the score for the film in what would be the first of a career-long collaborative relationship with Lynch spanning TV and film.

After scoring several mainstream movies, including A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Badalamenti once again collaborated with Lynch, composing the score for the cult favorite TV series Twin Peaks. Badalamenti’s dark yet beautiful soundtrack, often featuring vocals from Julee Cruise, became a defining part of the show and his most recognized work.

In 1990, Badalamenti received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his mesmerizing Twin Peaks theme and three Emmy nominations for his work on the series. Meanwhile, the show’s soundtrack was a huge hit, reaching Gold status in 25 countries.

He would continue to work with Lynch after Twin Peaks, creating music for the films Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, The Straight Story, Mulholland Drive, and Showtime’s 2017 revival of Twin Peaks. His other work includes A Very Long Engagement, The Wicker Man, Secretary, The Comfort of Strangers, and the video game Fahrenheit (known as Indigo Prophecy in North America).

On his daily YouTube weather report on Monday, Lynch seemingly paid tribute to Badalamenti by simply stating, “Today, no music.”

Twin Peaks, Streaming, Showtime