Angelo Badalamenti (1937-2022)

Published on 13 December 2022

Angelo Badalamenti (1937-2022)

Today we humbly pay respect to the passing of a much loved and celebrated composer. Angelo Daniel Badalamenti (1937-2022) was a Native New Yorker who’s early life was dominated by a love of Jazz. Beginning piano lessons at 8 years old, Badalamenti then enjoyed a decidedly ‘Dirty Dancing’ upbringing playing the Summer camps around New York’s picturesque Catskill mountains.

This all of course paved the way for a glittering career as a composer. Early work included soundtracks for the third Nightmare on Elm Street movie and even a National Lampoon’s film, though these are perhaps not what he is best remembered for.

His most well-known scores are of course his collaborations with avant-garde filmmaker David Lynch. Beginning with 1986’s Blue Velvet, Badalamenti went on to effectively define the sound of Lynch’s movies and shows. As well as Blue Velvet, he worked with Lynch on Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, Mullholland Drive and the Straight Story.

However, it was on Lynch and Mark Frost’s seminal and highly influential TV series Twin Peaks that cemented Angelo’s star for good. From the first note of the echoing, tremolo’d baritone guitar onwards, his haunting, melancholic and quite beautiful music created an atmosphere and interior world for a show that went on to become both an initial sensation and a lasting icon. Even people who’ve never seen the show (or accompanying movie Fire Walk With Me) know the Twin Peaks Theme and Laura Palmer’s Theme such is their ubiquity.

Badalamenti’s signature dissonance and jazz-flavoured minor key compositions have dominated the ghostly netherworlds of Lynch’s best moments, but other filmmakers also benefitted: Danny Boyle (The Beach), Jane Campion (Holy Smoke!) and Paul Shrader (Dominion) all utilised the trademark Badalamenti sound to great effect. He even recorded an album, Booth and the Bad Angel, with James vocalist Tim Booth and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler in the mid-90s. 

A subtle musician but undeniably a master of his craft, this infinitely influential musical maestro will be well missed and fondly remembered.


“Where I come from, the birds sing a pretty song and there’s always music in the air”

Twin Peaks




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