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Angelo Badalamenti

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Angelo Badalamenti
Background information
Birth nameAngelo Daniel Badalamenti
Born(1937-03-22)March 22, 1937
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 11, 2022(2022-12-11) (aged 85)
Lincoln Park, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresFilm score, jazz, ambient
Years active1962–2022

Angelo Daniel Badalamenti (March 22, 1937 – December 11, 2022) was an American composer and arranger best known for his film music, notably the scores for his acclaimed collaborations with director David Lynch, Blue Velvet (1986), the Twin Peaks television series, The Straight Story (1999), and Mulholland Drive (2001).[1]

Badalamenti also composed scores for such films as National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), The City of Lost Children (1995), Holy Smoke! (1999), and A Very Long Engagement (2004), and recorded songs with artists including Julee Cruise (in collaboration with Lynch), Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, Pet Shop Boys, Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, Tim Booth, Siouxsie Sioux and Dolores O'Riordan.

In 1990, Badalamenti won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his "Twin Peaks Theme" at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards. He received a lifetime achievement award from the World Soundtrack Awards's Academy in 2008 and the Henry Mancini Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 2011.

Early life[edit]

Angelo Daniel Badalamenti was born on March 22, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, the second of four children born to John and Leonora (née Ferrari) Badalamenti.[2] His father, who was of Italian[3] descent from the town of Cinisi, was a fish market owner.[4] He began taking piano lessons at age eight. By the time Badalamenti was a teenager, his aptitude at the piano earned him a summer job accompanying singers at resorts in the Catskill Mountains.[5] His elder brother was a jazz trumpet player who used to improvise with other musicians.[6] He also went to Latin American dance clubs.[6] Badalamenti attended Lafayette High School, where he wrote the processional march for his high school graduation.[7] After graduating, he enrolled at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, but transferred after two years to the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1958 and a master's degree in 1959.[8][9] He began composing music pieces in Kurt Weill's style.[6]

Film and television scoring[edit]

Badalamenti scored films such as Gordon's War and Law and Disorder, but his break came when he was hired as Isabella Rossellini's singing coach for the song "Blue Velvet" in David Lynch's 1986 film Blue Velvet.[10] Badalamenti and Lynch collaborated to write "Mysteries of Love" using lyrics Lynch wrote. Julee Cruise, who went on to work with Lynch and Badalamenti on other projects, performed the vocals for that track. Badalamenti composed the film's score and served as music supervisor. Lynch's request to him was for the score to be "like Shostakovich, be very Russian, but make it the most beautiful thing but make it dark and a little bit scary."[11] Badalamenti appears in Blue Velvet as the piano player in the club where Rossellini's character performs. This film was the first instance of a career-long collaborative relationship with Lynch spanning television and film.[10] Badalamenti dubbed their partnership "my second-best marriage".[12]

After scoring a variety of mainstream films, including A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors[7] and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Badalamenti again collaborated with Lynch in scoring Lynch's cult television show Twin Peaks, featuring Cruise's vocals on the leading song "Falling".[13][14] Twin Peaks became the score Badalamenti is perhaps best known for, one that helped define the show's style and mood.[13] The score features different themes patterned after specific characters in the show—"Audrey's Dance", for example, is an "abstract jazzy" theme that plays when Audrey Horne (played by Sherilyn Fenn) is onscreen.[15] Many of the songs from the series were released on Cruise's album Floating into the Night.[16] Badalamenti won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the "Twin Peaks Theme" from the Twin Peaks soundtrack.[17] The song also earned a gold plaque from the RIAA.[18] Between 1991 and 1993, Badalamenti and Lynch collaborated on the project Thought Gang, the results of which were released in 2018.

Other Lynch projects Badalamenti worked on include the movies Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Lost Highway, The Straight Story, Mulholland Drive (in which he has a small role as a gangster with a finicky taste for espresso), and Rabbits, and the television shows On the Air and Hotel Room.[19] His projects with other directors include the TV film Witch Hunt and the films Naked in New York, The City of Lost Children, A Very Long Engagement, The Wicker Man,[2] Dark Water, and Secretary.[20] He also worked on the soundtrack for the video game Fahrenheit (known as Indigo Prophecy in North America), and wrote the music for Paul Schrader's films Auto Focus, The Comfort of Strangers, and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.[20]

In 1995, he asked Marianne Faithfull to write lyrics for a song for the soundtrack of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's The City of Lost Children; the result was "Who Will Take My Dreams Away".[21]

In 1998, Badalamenti recorded "A Foggy Day (in London Town)" with David Bowie for the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Red Hot + Rhapsody, a tribute to George Gershwin that raised money for various charities devoted to increasing AIDS awareness and fighting the disease.[7] Badalamenti had sent a demo of the song with his own vocals to the record company and Bowie was the first singer to respond.[22] In 1999, he worked with director Jane Campion on the film Holy Smoke!, writing the soundtrack after working with Campion for a few days.[23]

In 2005, he composed the themes for the movie Napola (Before the Fall), which were then adapted for the score by Normand Corbeil.[24] In 2008, he composed and directed the soundtrack of The Edge of Love: Siouxsie Sioux sang the Weill-influenced "Careless Love",[12] and Patrick Wolf and Beth Rowley recorded vocals for several other tracks.[25]

Badalamenti received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Soundtrack Awards on October 18, 2008, in Ghent, Belgium.[1] That night, he performed a concert at the piano with the Brussels Philharmonic orchestra directed by Dirk Brossé, with Siouxsie Sioux and Beth Rowley on vocals.[26] The concert, spanning his whole career with a selection of tracks,[26] was broadcast on Belgian television.[27]

On July 23, 2011, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers gave Badalamenti the Henry Mancini Award for his accomplishments in film and television music.[28]

The 2017 revival of the Twin Peaks television series marked the continuation of Badalamenti's work with Lynch. Its score features new compositions by Badalamenti as well as material from the original score.[13]


From the start, Badalamenti collaborated with other songwriters. In 1964, he contributed to Beatlemania by arranging, conducting, and co-writing a Christmas novelty single, "Santa, Bring Me Ringo", which was performed by Christine Hunter.[7] In 1966, he co-wrote a song, "Visa to the Stars", on Perrey and Kingsley's album The In Sound from Way Out![7] In 1967, using the name Andy Badale, he co-wrote a song, "Pioneers of the Stars", for Perrey and Kingsley's next album, Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music From Way Out.[7] The same year, he and Norm Simon co-wrote "I Want to Love You for What You Are", a No. 54 pop hit for Ronnie Dove.[29] He also arranged, produced, and co-wrote some songs on Perrey's two solo albums for Vanguard Records using the Badale pseudonym.[7]

Badalamenti also wrote songs for Nina Simone and Shirley Bassey. In 1967, he co-wrote the song "I Hold No Grudge" for Simone's album High Priestess of Soul.[30] In 1968, he and Sammy Cahn wrote "I've Been Loved" for Bassey’s album This Is My Life.[31]

In 1987, he lent his services to the British synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys, orchestrating "It Couldn't Happen Here".[32] He also arranged the strings on two tracks from their 1990 album Behaviour.[33]

Badalamenti arranged songs for artists such as Dusty Springfield and Paul McCartney. In 1989 he arranged Springfield's single "Nothing Has Been Proved", which was written by the Pet Shop Boys.[34]

Badalementi conceived entire albums with singers such as Julee Cruise, Marianne Faithfull and Tim Booth of the band James. In 1993, he and Lynch directed an album for Cruise, The Voice of Love, which included several tracks from Twin Peaks.[35] Also in 1993, he collaborated with thrash metal band Anthrax on the Twin Peaks-inspired track "Black Lodge" from the album Sound of White Noise.[36]

In 1995, Badalamenti composed, orchestrated, and produced Faithfull's album A Secret Life.[37] In 1996, he teamed up with Tim Booth as Booth and the Bad Angel; they released their eponymous album on the Mercury label.[38] In 2000, he worked with Orbital on the single "Beached" for the movie The Beach.[39] In 2004, he composed the Evilenko soundtrack, working with Dolores O'Riordan, who sang the main theme and with whom he continued to collaborate.[40]

Other projects[edit]

Badalamenti composed some of the score for the opening ceremony of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.[41]

Live performances[edit]

Badalamenti performed at a concert entitled "The Music of David Lynch" in 2015, in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the David Lynch Foundation. The performance was held at Ace Hotel Los Angeles and included Julee Cruise and other artists known for collaborating with Lynch.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Badalamenti and his wife, Lonny, married in 1968 and had two children. He died of natural causes at his home in Lincoln Park, New Jersey, on December 11, 2022, at age 85.[2][43] Following his death, several industry figures paid tribute to Badalamenti. David Lynch, during his daily installment of Weather Report on December 12, said, "Today—no music".[44]



  • 1990: Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance: "Twin Peaks Theme"[45]
  • 1993: Saturn Award for Best Music: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me[46]
  • 2008: World Soundtrack Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award[1]
  • 2011: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers: Henry Mancini Award[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Lifetime Achievement Award for Angelo Badalamenti". worldsoundtrackawards.com/. September 30, 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Gates, Anita (December 12, 2022). "Angelo Badalamenti, Composer for 'Twin Peaks,' Is Dead at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  3. ^ Wise, Brian (May 22, 2005). "MUSIC; David Lynch's Not-So-Silent Partner". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  4. ^ Milicia, Joseph (November 8, 2007). "Angelo Badalamenti". International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. 4. Gale.
  5. ^ "Angelo Badalamenti". Contemporary Musicians. 17. Gale. October 28, 1996.
  6. ^ a b c Lorfèvre, Alain (October 16, 2008). "Badalamenti, Lynch's Ear. [Badalamenti, l'oreille de Lynch]" (in French). Lalibre.be. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "5 Things You Might Not Know About Angelo Badalamenti | Rhino". www.rhino.com. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  8. ^ "An Interview with Angelo Badalamenti". The Believer. August 1, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  9. ^ "Alumni: Awards". Manhattan School of Music. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Garvey, Meaghan (September 15, 2017). "Blue Velvet (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  11. ^ Chion, Michael (1995). "Blue Velvet". British Film Institute, London: 89.
  12. ^ a b Shepherd, Fiona (December 23, 2022). "Scotsman Obituaries: Angelo Badalamenti, composer of haunting Twin Peaks theme". The Scotsman. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c Naftule, Ashley (May 17, 2017). "Why the Music of Twin Peaks Is Just as Iconic as David Lynch's Show". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  14. ^ Tedder, Michael (May 17, 2017). "The 'Twin Peaks' Sound Has Influenced Everyone From Kanye West to Beach House". Esquire. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  15. ^ Deyneko, Yelena (March 30, 2015). "Interview with Composer Angelo Badalamenti". Spirit & Flesh. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  16. ^ Jenkins, David; Huddleston, Tom. "In praise of Julee Cruise: the voice behind Twin Peaks". Little White Lies. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  17. ^ "Grammy Award Past Winners: Angelo Badalamenti". The Recording Academy. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  18. ^ Grow, Kory (July 25, 2014). "The Story Behind the Music of 'Twin Peaks'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  19. ^ Rogers, Holly (2019). "The Audiovisual Eerie: Transmediating Thresholds in the Work of David Lynch". Transmedia Directors: Artistry, Industry and New Audiovisual Aesthetics. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-50134100-7.
  20. ^ a b "Angelo Badalamenti". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  21. ^ "Angelo Badalamenti – The City Of Lost Children (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Label: EastWest – 0630 10251 2, EastWest – 0630-10251-2. CD. Europe. 1995. "Credits for Who Will Take My Dreams Away? Faithfull/Badalamenti. Vocals and Lyrics by Marianne Faithfull.
  22. ^ "A Foggy Day In London Town". Bowiebible.com. February 11, 2022. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  23. ^ "Composer Spotlight: Angelo Badalamenti". Mixonline.com. January 2006. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  24. ^ "'Before the Fall' lacks gravitas subject deserves". Chicago Tribune. February 24, 2006.
  25. ^ "Angelo Badalamenti – The Edge of Love [Music from the Motion Picture] Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic" – via www.allmusic.com.
  26. ^ a b "Ghent 2008 Film Music during a Long Evening in Ghent [Concert review] Gent 2008 – Verslag Veel Filmmuziek Tidjdens Een Lange Avond in Gent – Verschenen in Score 149, oktober 2008" (in Dutch). Score-magazine.nl. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  27. ^ "Angelo Badamenti with Siouxsie, Ghent 2008". Broadcast on "Canvas+" on October 19, 2008 – Dailymotion. July 20, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  28. ^ Hurst, Elizabeth (July 23, 2011). "ASCAP Film & Television Awards". Billboard. Vol. 123, no. 25. Prometheus Global Media.
  29. ^ "I Want to Love You for What You Are (song by Ronnie Dove) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". www.musicvf.com. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  30. ^ "Décès du compositeur de Twin Peaks, Angelo Badalamenti". dhnet.be (in French). Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  31. ^ "Shirley Bassey – This Is My Life (album)". Label: Sunset Records – SLS 50297. 1968. "Credits for "I've Been Loved". (Angelo Badalamenti / Sammy Cahn)".
  32. ^ Solomon, Kate (June 15, 2020). "Pet Shop Boys: where to start in their back catalogue". The Guardian. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  33. ^ "Making Pet Shop Boys: Behaviour – Classic Pop Magazine". www.classicpopmag.com. August 23, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  34. ^ "Dusty Springfield – "Nothing Has Been Proved". Label: Parlophone – 12R 6207. 1989. "Credits. Arranged By Conductor – Angelo Badalamenti".
  35. ^ Raggett, Ned. "The Voice of Love – Julee Cruise". AllMusic. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  36. ^ Morris, Chris (June 2, 1993). "Anthrax Adds a New Twist". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  37. ^ "A Secret Life | Marianne Faithfull Official". www.mariannefaithfull.org.uk. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  38. ^ "Tim Booth and Angelo Badalamenti". Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford Music Online. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  39. ^ "What are all the songs on The Beach soundtrack?". Radio Times. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  40. ^ Dom, Pieter (January 16, 2018). "Hear Angelo Badalamenti's Collaborations With Cranberries Singer Dolores O'Riordan". Welcome to Twin Peaks. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  41. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (March 24, 2017). "'Make it like the wind, Angelo': How the Twin Peaks soundtrack came to haunt music for nearly 30 years". The Guardian. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  42. ^ "The Music of David Lynch". Ace Hotel. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  43. ^ Grieving, Tim (December 12, 2022). "Angelo Badalamenti, composer of unsettling film soundtracks, dies at 85". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  44. ^ "David Lynch's Weather Report 12/12/22". YouTube. December 12, 2022. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  45. ^ "GRAMMY Awards and Nominations for Angelo Badalamenti". www.grammy.com.
  46. ^ Klady, Leonard (June 9, 1993). "'Dracula' wins big at Saturn Awards".
  47. ^ Cassidy, Kevin (June 24, 2011). "'Blue Velvet' Composer Angelo Badalamenti: 'I Taught David Lynch How to Curse'". The Hollywood Reporter.

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