The composer Angelo Badalamenti, best known for “Blue Velvet,” “Twin Peaks,” and “Mulholland Drive,” passed away on Sunday at the age of 85.
Who was Angelo Badalamenti?
Angelo Badalamenti was Born in Brooklyn in March 1937 to a fish market owner father with a musical background (a percussionist in Sicily).
Badalamenti grew up listening to Italian opera with his family and started piano lessons at age 8. He went on to earn a bachelor's and master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
During the summers he would play piano at resorts in the Catskills for the Borscht Belt acts. After college, he started teaching in intermediate schools. By creating a Christmas carol for his children that was subsequently shown on PBS, he launched his career in entertainment.
Later, he wrote songs for Nancy Wilson and Nina Simone, including “Another Spring” and “Face It, Girl, It's Over.” His major break, however, came in 1986 when he was invited to help Isabella Rossellini write a song for the film “Law and Disorder” thanks to a network of industry ties that started with unit manager Peter Runfola.
Additionally, he wrote songs for films like “Law and Disorder” and “Gordon's War.”
Angelo Badalamenti’s Collaborations
Badalamenti once called his collaboration with Lynch “my second-best marriage,” and Lynch told the Los Angeles Times in 1990 that “some of the happiest moments I've ever had have been working with Angelo.”
The two met in 1986 when Badalamenti was brought on as a vocal coach for Isabella Rossellini on Blue Velvet. He stayed on to score the entire film and appeared in the movie as Rossellini's piano player under the stage name Andy Badale.
In the end, he also composed the song “Mysteries of Love,” for which he hired Julee Cruise. He passed away earlier this year. This began a long partnership between the three of them that would last through David Lynch's groundbreaking television program “Twin Peaks.”
David thought the music for ‘Twin Peaks' would need to express a variety of different emotions, including melancholy, passion, ecstasy, love, tenderness, and violence. He stated that he intended the music to be abstract and dark. “He requested music that would break people's hearts,” I said.
Translate Words into Music
According to The Associated Press, Badalamenti wrote the soundtrack for a number of other directors' movies, including Holy Smoke! by Jane Campion and The Beach by Danny Boyle. He collaborated with David Bowie and the Pet Shop Boys as well.
But his work with David Lynch stands out. Along with composing the music for Lynch's movies, Badalamenti had a noteworthy cameo in Mulholland Drive as a fussy, espresso-loving gangster.
When I write a soundtrack, I always ask a filmmaker one important question: “What do you want your audience to feel?” In 2011, Badalamenti spoke to NME.
“Do you want to scare the s–t out of them? Squirm in their seat? Feel beautiful? And how they answer that question gives me cues to work on. I translate their words into music.”
Badalamenti won a Grammy
Badalamenti won a Grammy and two Emmy nominations for his work on Twin Peaks, with the soundtrack to the first season being certified Gold in the UK, US, and Canada and certified Platinum in Australia.
Badalamenti also dabbled in music away from film and TV, working with artists including The Pet Shop Boys, David Bowie, Anthrax, Marianne Faithful, and Cranberries vocalist Dolores O'Riordan.
Angelo Badalamenti Cause of Death
Angelo Badalamenti is the composer best known for his work with David Lynch on Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and other films and TV shows. He died on Sunday, his family said Monday. He was 85, and his death was attributed to natural causes.