Film composer, producer
In most cases incidental music works to create mood, set tone, and elucidate plots, but rarely does the composer’s music become inextricably linked to the medium it is enhancing. Angelo Badalamenti—composer, songwriter, and record producer—has received widespread critical acclaim for creating music that both defines and enhances films, television series, and albums. His accolades include earning nearly every music composition honor including an Emmy, Grammy, Saturn, and multiple ASCAP awards. Often compared to film composer legends Ennio Morricone and Bernard Herrmann, Badalamenti’s work has ranged from composing Olympic themes to orchestrating songs for Paul McCartney.
Badalamenti began his musical career at age eight with a series of piano lessons, and his natural talent eventually led to summer appointments as a piano accompanist for singers at resorts in New York’s Catskill Mountains. He later studied at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester and the Manhattan School of Music, earning Master’s degrees in composition, French horn, and piano. While teaching music at a high school in Brooklyn he began composing songs, and in the early 1970s was hired by a music publishing company.
His strong composition skills landed him a wide range of positions, from writing advertising jingles and television themes to composing songs for popular singers including Shirley Bassey and MelTillis. As his reputation grew, Badalamenti branched off into film scoring for 1973’s Gordon’s War and 1974’s Law and Disorder. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that film scores became the focus of his energies.
Badalamenti’s work with singers led to a meeting with film director David Lynch, and the partnership which followed was a unique and creative union. Lynch had directed and written the surreal black and white film Eraserhead (1978), the critically successful Elephant Man (1980), and the science fiction cult hit Dune (1984). Still considered an outsider in mainstream Hollywood, Lynch was beginning to film a screenplay he had written in the film noir tradition called Blue Velvet (1986). One of the film’s stars, Isabella Rosellini, required vocal coaching for her performance of the title tune, and Lynch chose Badalamenti because of his extensive work with vocalists. He was pleased with the results and asked Badalamenti to write another song—which they co-wrote at Badalamenti’s request—and finally, the score.
Badalamenti described their meeting of the minds as “an instant communication” in People. “David doesn’t
For the Record …
Education: studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and the Manhattan School of Music, earning Master’s degrees in composition, French horn, and piano.
Worked as piano accompanist in the Catskill Mountains; taught music at a Brooklyn high school when he began working for a music publishing company; began scoring films with Gordon’s War in 1973; began working with David Lynch in 1986 with Blue Velvet, also worked on Lynch’s television show Twin Peaks and several other Lynch films.
Address :Office —Film Music Associates, 4146 Lanker shim Blvd., Suite 401, North Hollywood, CA, 91602, (818) 761-4040.
vacillate. He just describes what he wants, and before he’s finished I ’m tuned in and I ’ve already got my hands on the keyboards.” The score for Blue Velvet won Badalamenti critical acclaim and he was asked to compose for a series of films including the unlikely mix of A Nightmare on Elm Street III (1987), Tough Guy’s Don’t Dance (1987), and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989).
Lynch and Badalamenti rejoined in 1989 for the television pilot of one of the most revered series ever: Twin Peaks. The mysterious death of a high school homecoming queen—and subsequent investigation by a FBI special agent—was the deceptively simple premise of Twin Peaks. The engaging characters, multiple layers of plot lines, and cinematic qualities of the series production created a cult following that remained long after its untimely end after only two seasons. Badalamenti composed the seductively melodic theme, lyrics, and all background music for the series and was nominated for several Emmys, including Theme, Music and Lyrics, and Underscore. He also won a Grammy Award in the Pop Instrumental category and a nomination in the I nstrumental Composition (film or television) area. Badalamenti told Option that because of the nature of the series he strove to create a completely unique sound—“somewhat traditional… but underneath the surface… slightly twisted or off-center.”
The Twin Peaks phenomenon created a frenzy among television viewers and Badalamenti’s score and Lynch’s lyrics for the series were at least partially responsible for its critical and commercial success. The New York Times called the score “a classic example of Minimalist film music, a few charged fragments revolving obsessively in the mind,” while Melody Maker praised Badalamenti’s work as “evoking an atmosphere that is not merely menacing and foreboding but also heightens the unreality effects of David Lynch’s work.”
While working on Blue Velvet, Lynch and Badalamenti had collaborated with singer Julee Cruise (who performed on Blue Velvet) on her album Floating Into the Night— with Lynch penning lyrics and Badalamenti scoring. In addition, Cruise later sang Lynch’s lyrics with Badalamenti’s music on episodes of Twin Peaks. The threesome also released Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Heartedin 1989, a multimedia theatre production created at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The piece—which received the American Music Video Entertainment Award—included performances by actors that had previously appeared in Lynch’s films, as well as several songs from Floating Into the Night.
The Lynch/Badalamenti partnership continued with 1990’s film Wild At Heart, and the 1992 prequel to the Twin Peaks television series Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, for which Badalamenti won both the Saturn Award and Independent Spirit Award for Best Original Score. His commercial work with Lynch also included a series of television advertisements for Calvin Klein’s Obsession perfume. While scoring for films Badalamenti continued to write songs and orchestrate for singers like Marianne Faithfull, Liza Minelli, Roberta Flack, the Pet Shop Boys, Michael Jackson, and Anthrax. Many other projects followed including being honored as the composer and conductor of the Torch Theme and 25th Anniversary theme at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Director David Lynch best described the multi-talented Badalamenti and his approach to composing in People: “He’s got this musical soul, and melodies are always floating around inside. I feel the mood of a scene in the music, and one thing helps the other, and they both just start climbing.”
Blue Velvet, 1986.
A Nightmare On Elm Street III, 1987.
Twin Peaks, 1990.
Wild At Heart, 1990.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, 1992.
The City of Lost Children, 1996.
With David Lynch and Juice Cruise
Floating Into the Night, by Julee Cruise, composed byAngelo Badalamenti.
The Voice of Love by Julee Cruise, composed by Angelo Badalamenti.
Billboard, September, 15, 1990.
Keyboard, November 1990.
Melody Maker, November 17, 1990.
New York Times, July 1, 1990.
Option, July/August 1990.
People, September 10, 1990.
Pulse, April 1995.
Badalamenti, Angelo 1937- (Andy Badale, Angelo Bagdelamenti)
Badalamenti, Angelo 1937- (Andy Badale, Angelo Bagdelamenti)
Born March 22, 1937, in Bensonhurst neighborhood, Brooklyn, NY; raised in New Jersey; married, wife's name Lonny, c. 1968; children: Danielle, Andre (a musician). Education: Attended University of Rochester and Manhattan School of Music; received master's degrees.
Manager—Kraft-Engel Management, 15233 Ventura Blvd., Suite 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.
Composer, conductor, music director, orchestrator, music producer, lyricist, and musician. Composer of advertising jingles, including music for Opium and Obsession perfume commercials, and television theme music; arranger of musical pieces for recording artists, including George Benson, Paul McCartney, Liza Minelli, Melba Moore, and Mel Tillis; occasional songwriter with John Clifford, under the name Andy Badale. Also worked as a voice coach, a junior high school teacher in Brooklyn, NY, a pianist at resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, and as an employee of a music publishing company.
Emmy Award nominations, outstanding achievement in music composition of a dramatic underscore for a television series, and outstanding achievement in main title theme music (with David Lynch), both 1990, for Twin Peaks; Emmy Award nomination (with Lynch), outstanding achievement in song music and lyrics, 1990, for "Into the Night," Twin Peaks; Grammy Award, best pop instrumental performance, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1990, for "Twin Peaks Theme"; Grammy Award nomination, best instrumental composition written for a motion picture or for television, 1991, for soundtrack recording of Twin Peaks; Independent Spirit Award, best original score, Independent Features Project/West, and Saturn Award, best music, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, both 1993, for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me; Cesar Award nomination, best music written for a film, Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema, 1996, for La cite des enfants perdus; Golden Globe Award nomination, best original score for a motion picture, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, best original score, and Sierra Award nomination, best score, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, all 2000, for The Straight Story; Golden Globe Award nomination, best original score for a motion picture, American Film Institute Award nomination, composer of the year, nomination for Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Saturn Award nomination, best music, Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination (with others), best original score, and Online Film Critics Society Award, best original score, all 2002, for Mulholland Drive; Cesar Award nomination, best music written for a film, and World Soundtrack Award, soundtrack composer of the year, both 2005, for Un long dimanche de fiancailles; Technical Excellence and Creativity Award nomination, Mix Foundation, 2007; won at least eight awards from American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
Music director and (uncredited) conductor, Blue Velvet, Di Laurentiis Entertainment Group, 1986.
Orchestrator and musical director, Tough Guys Don't Dance (also known as Norman Mailer's "Tough Guys Don't Dance"), Cannon, 1987.
Orchestrator, Christmas Vacation (also known as National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation" and National Lampoon's Winter Holiday), 1989.
Orchestrator, Wait Until Spring, Bandini (also known as Bandini, John Fante's "Wait Until Spring, Bandini," Aspetta primavera Bandini, and Le ragioni del cuore), 1989.
Orchestrator, music director, and conductor, Cousins (also known as A Touch of Infidelity), Paramount, 1989.
Orchestral music producer, Parents, Vestron, 1989.
Orchestrator and keyboard performer, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (also known as Twin Peaks), New Line Cinema, 1992.
Orchestrator, music director, and conductor, Lost Highway, October Films, 1997.
Orchestrator, Arlington Road, Screen Gems, 1999.
Orchestrator and conductor of score, and arranger and producer of the song "Maya, Mayi Ma-The Celebration," Holy Smoke, Miramax, 1999.
Orchestrator and conductor, The Straight Story (also known as Une histoire vraie), Buena Vista, 1999.
Orchestrator and producer of the song "Beached," The Beach, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2000.
Music conductor, Mulholland Drive (also known as Mulholland Dr.), Universal Focus, 2001.
Orchestrator, Secretary, Lions Gate Films, 2002.
Score producer, The Wicker Man, Warner Bros., 2006.
(As Andy Badale) Piano player, Blue Velvet, Di Laurentiis Entertainment Group, 1986.
Luigi Castigliani, Mulholland Drive (also known as Mulholland Dr.), Universal Focus, 2001.
Television Work; Series:
Music orchestrator, director, conductor, and musician, Twin Peaks, ABC, 1990-91.
Music performer, Parashat Ha-Shavua, 2006.
Television Work; Specials:
Producer, Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted, 1990.
Music conductor, Hotel Room (also known as David Lynch's "Hotel Room"), HBO, 1993.
Television Work; Other:
Music orchestrator, director, conductor, and musician, Twin Peaks (pilot), ABC, 1990-91.
Orchestrator and conductor of main theme music, The Last Don (also known as Mario Puzo's "The Last Don"), 1997.
Orchestrator, musician, and song producer, "Apple Tree," "Faded," and "She's Gone," Julie Johnson (movie), here! TV, 2001.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Musician, Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted, 1990.
Jonathan Ross Presents for One Week Only: David Lynch, 1990.
Conductor of opening song, Cerimonia d'inauguracio jocs olimpics Barcelona '92, 1992.
Pretty As a Picture: The Art of David Lynch, 1997.
A Very Long Engagement: On the Set of a Romantic Epic, 2004.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
"David Lynch: Don't Look at Me," Cinema, de notre temps, 1989.
Pianist, premiere episode, On the Air, 1992.
"David Lynch Special," Tracks, 2007.
Television Appearances; Other:
Der Klang der bilder, 1995.
Musician, Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY, 1990.
Mysteries of Love, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2002.
Cabin Fever: Beneath the Skin, Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment, 2004.
Une annee au front, les coulisses de "Un long dimanche de fiancailles," Warner Bros., 2004.
Le son de Lynch, Nomad Films International, 2005.
Dark Water: Extraordinary Ensemble, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2005.
Albums as Musician or Conductor:
Blue Velvet (soundtrack recording), Varese Sarabande, 1986.
Cousins (soundtrack recording), Warner Bros., 1988.
Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted (soundtrack recording), 1990.
(With David Lynch and Julee Cruise) Floating into the Night, 1990.
Twin Peaks (soundtrack recording), Warner Bros., 1991.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (soundtrack recording), Warner Bros., 1992.
(With Tim Booth) Booth and the Bad Angel, 1996.
Lost Highway (soundtrack recording), 1997.
The Straight Story (soundtrack recording), Windham Hill, 1999.
Holy Smoke! (soundtrack recording), Milan, 1999.
The Beach, Sire, 2000.
Cabin Fever (soundtrack album), 2002.
Also recorded the albums Andy Badale and The Nashville Beer Garden Band. Badalamenti's film music has been included in numerous soundtrack recordings; many compositions have also been recorded by other artists.
Soundtrack Albums as Composer:
Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, Colosseum, 1987.
Comfort of Strangers, Cam Soundtrack, 1990.
The City of Lost Children, Point Music, 1996.
Arlington Road, Will, 1999.
A Very Long Engagement, WEA, 2004.
Dark Water, Hollywood, 2005.
Wicker Man, Silva Screen, 2006.
Albums as Producer:
Marianne Faithfull—A Secret Life, 1995.
(As Andy Badale) Law and Disorder, Columbia, 1974.
(As Andy Badale) Score and title song lyrics, Across the Great Divide, Pacific International Enterprises, 1976.
(Including songs "Blue Star" and "Mysteries of Love") Blue Velvet, Di Laurentiis Entertainment Group, 1986.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part III: Dream Warriors (also known as A Nightmare on Elm Street Part III), New Line Cinema, 1987.
(Including songs "You'll Come Back (You Always Do)" and "Real Man") Tough Guys Don't Dance (also known as Norman Mailer's "Tough Guys Don't Dance"), Cannon, 1987.
(Including song "Mysteries of Love") Weeds, Di Laurentiis Entertainment Group, 1987.
(Including song "I Love You for Today") Cousins (also known as A Touch of Infidelity), Paramount, 1989.
(With Jonathan Elias and Sherman Foote) Parents, Vestron, 1989.
Christmas Vacation (also known as National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation" and National Lampoon's Winter Holiday), Warner Bros., 1989.
Wait Until Spring, Bandini (also known as Bandini, John Fante's "Wait Until Spring, Bandini," Aspetta primavera Bandini, and Le ragioni del cuore), Orion, 1989.
The Comfort of Strangers (also known as Cortesie per gli ospiti), Skouras, 1990.
(Including song "Up in Flames") Wild at Heart (also known as David Lynch's "Wild at Heart"), Samuel Goldwyn Films, 1990.
(Including songs "The Black Dog Runs at Night," "Falling," "Love Theme," "Moving through Time," "Questions in a World of Blue," "A Real Indication," "She Would Die for Love," "Sycamore Trees" and "The Voice of Love") Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, New Line Cinema, 1992.
Naked in New York, Fine Line, 1994.
(Including song "Who Will Take Your Dreams Away") La cite des enfants perdus (also known as The City of Lost Children, La ciudad de los ninos perdidos, La ciutat dels nens perduts, and Die Stadt der verlorenen kinder), 1995.
(Including theme music) Invasion of Privacy, Trimark Pictures, 1996.
Lost Highway, October Films, 1997.
The Blood Oranges, Trimark Pictures, 1997.
Arlington Road, Screen Gems, 1999.
The Straight Story (also known as Une histoire vraie), Buena Vista, 1999.
Holy Smoke!, Miramax, 1999.
(Including theme music) The Story of a Bad Boy, 1999.
(Including songs "Beached" and "Bloody Boy") The Beach, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2000.
A Piece of Eden, Film Acres, 2000.
Mulholland Drive (also known as Mulholland Dr.), Universal Focus, 2001.
Suspended Animation (also known as Mayhem), First Run Features, 2001.
Cet amour la (also known as This Very Love), 2001, subtitled version, New Yorker, 2003.
Rabbits, Davidlynch.com, 2002.
Mysteries of Love (documentary), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment, 2002.
Secretary, Lions Gate Films, 2002.
Darkened Room (short film), Davidlynch.com, 2002.
L'adversaire (also known as The Adversary and El adversario), Paradiso Home Entertainment, 2002.
Auto Focus, Sony Pictures, 2002.
Cabin Fever, Lions Gate Films, 2003.
Resistance, A-Film Distribution, 2003.
Indoor Fireworks (short film), Sleeve Monkey Film, 2003.
Push (short film), 2004.
Evilenko, Mikado, 2004.
Un long dimanche de fiancailles (also known as A Very Long Engagement), Warner Independent Pictures, 2004.
The Monster of Rostov, 2004.
Dominion: Prequel to "The Exorcist" (also known as Paul Schrader's "Exorcist:" The Original Prequel), Warner Bros., 2005.
Dark Water, Buena Vista, 2005.
The Wicker Man, Warner Bros., 2006.
The Eye, Lions Gate Films, 2007.
Songs Featured in Films:
(As Andy Badale) Gordon's War, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1973.
"Fall in Love with Me," The Very Thought of You, Miramax, 1999.
"Who Will Take My Dreams Away?," Girl on the Bridge, Paramount Vantage, 1999.
"Sleep," Son frere (also known as His Brother), Strand Releasing, 2004.
"What You Want," Take the Lead, New Line Cinema, 2006.
Television Music; Series:
Score, theme music, and songs "Falling" and "The Nightingale," Twin Peaks, ABC, 1990-91.
On the Air, 1992.
(As Angelo Bagdelamenti) Main theme music, Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 1994.
Main title theme music, The Profiler, NBC, 1996-98.
Cracker (also known as Cracker: Mind Over Murder and Fitz), 1997.
According to some sources, also wrote songs for Captain Kangaroo.
Television Music; Specials:
(With David Lynch and Julee Cruise) Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted, 1990.
Song "The Flaming Arrow," Cerimonia d'inauguracio jocs olimpics Barcelona '92, 1992.
Main theme music "Dark Spanish Symphony," The Donner Party, PBS, 1992.
Hotel Room (also known as David Lynch's "Hotel Room"), HBO, 1993.
A Very Long Engagement: On the Set of a Romantic Epic, 2004.
Inside the Actors Studio: 10th Anniversary Special, Bravo, 2004.
Television Music: Movies:
Witch Hunt, 1994.
Forever Mine, Starz!, 1999.
Julie Johnson, here! TV, 2001.
The Lathe of Heaven, Arts and Entertainment, 2002.
Theme music, Undefeated, HBO, 2003.
Theme music, Frankenstein, USA Network, 2004.
Television Music: Miniseries:
Main theme music, The Last Don (also known as Mario Puzo's "The Last Don"), 1997.
Les liaisons dangereuses (also known as Dangerous Liaisons), WE Network, 2003.
Television Music; Pilots:
Twin Peaks, ABC, 1990.
Television Music; Episodic:
Song "Dark Lolita," "De nye hjerter," Arhundredets vidner, 1998.
Les enfants de la cite perdue (also known as Les enfants de la cite perdue. Visite sur le tournage du film de Caro & Jeunet: La cite des enfants perdus), 1995.
Une annee au front, les coulisses de "Un long dimanche de fiancailles," Warner Bros., 2005.
Fahrenheit (video game; also known as Indigo Prophecy), Atari, 2005.
Contemporary Musicians, Volume 17, Gale, 1996.
Billboard, June 22, 1996, p. 13.
Commerce, June 1, 2006, pp. 38-39, 74, 76.
Composer. Nationality: American. Born: Brooklyn, New York, 22 March 1937; son of an Italian fish market owner. Education: Eastman School of Music. B.A.; Manhattan School of Music, M.A. 1960. Family: Married Lonny, 1968; two children: daughter Danielle and son Andre. Career: Accompanist to singers in the Catskills as a teen; taught at a Brooklyn junior high school before developing career as songwriter in the 1970s; hired for Blue Velvet as vocal coach for Isabella Rossellini but retained as composer, 1986; has scored all of David Lynch's films, TV productions, and other video material; composer for TV series Inside the Actors Studio (as Angelo Bagdelamenti), 1994, The Profiler, 1996–1998, The Last Don, 1997, and Cracker, 1997. Awards: Independent Spirit Award, for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, 1993.
Films as Composer:
Gordon's War (Davis) (as Andy Badale)
Law and Disorder (Passer) (as Andy Badale)
Blue Velvet (Lynch)
Weeds (Hancock); Tough Guys Don't Dance (Mailer); Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Russell)
Wait Until Spring, Bandini (Deruddere); Parents (Balaban); Cousins (Schumacher); National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Chechik)
Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted (video) (Lynch); The Comfort of Strangers (Shrader); Twin Peaks (Lynch—for TV, pilot, and series); Wild at Heart (Lynch)
On the Air (Lynch—for TV); Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (Lynch)
Hotel Room (Lynch—for TV)
Naked in New York (Algrant); Witch Hunt (Shrader—for TV)
La Cité des enfants perdus (City of Lost Children) (Caro and Jeunet)
Lost Highway (Lynch); The Blood Oranges (Haas)
Story of a Bad Boy (Donaghy); Arlington Road (Pellington);Holy Smoke (Campion); Forever Mine (Shrader); The Straight Story (Lynch)
Mulholland Drive (Lynch—for TV); The Beach (Boyle)
Across the Great Divide (Raffill) (lyricist)
Invasion of Privacy (Hickox) (music theme)
By BADALAMENTI: books—
Floating into the Night (songs for voice and piano, words by David Lynch), Port Chester, New York, 1991.
By BADALAMENTI: articles—
"Angelo Badalamenti in Prague: 'I am the jazzman,"' interview in Kinorevue (Prague), October 1996.
On BADALAMENTI: articles—
Abrahams, Andrew, "His Haunting Mood Music," in People (New York), 9 September 1990.
Woodard, Josef, "Sonata for Cello and Cherry Pie," in American Film, 15 December 1990.
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Only a few composers for films have the distinction of being deeply identified with a string of major works by a famed director, so that one can hardly think of the films without hearing the soundtrack: among the foremost pairings are Bernard Herrmann with Alfred Hitchcock and Nino Rota with Federico Fellini. Few, perhaps, would place David Lynch in the august company of Hitchcock and Fellini, but certainly many of the haunting moments of the American director's work have been accompanied by the music of Angelo Badalamenti, who since 1986's Blue Velvet has scored all of Lynch's films, TV work, and experimental videos. The composer has worked on other films, composed themes for TV shows, and collaborated on CDs with various singing artists, but his work with Lynch, notably Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and The Straight Story, has been his most celebrated.
Blue Velvet's opening title music is relatively conventional, symphonic in style, appropriate enough for a moody, noirish film. Later, at suspenseful moments, as when Jeffrey is sneaking into Dorothy's apartment, the scoring is more sparse, and kept to the background, so that the low strings become indistinguishable from moaning sounds that might be wind blowing through a stairwell. In the first scene at the Slow Club, Badalamenti himself shows up as a pianist, with sax and bass, to accompany Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) in a very slow version of "Blue Velvet." But the composer truly comes into his own in the night scene between Jeffrey and Sandy in front of the church. The somber organ music appears to be coming from behind the stained glass windows glowing in the darkness, but as Sandy tells about her dream of robins and love, the music reaches a peak of hyper-sweet piety that seems a sly mockery of her speech. Later, when the young friends/crime-solvers kiss, the same music is played by strings, and later yet, at a dance and then as the couple converse by phone in a scene that could be captioned "Teen Heartbreak," we hear a vocal version ("Mysteries of Love," sung by Julee Cruise, with lyrics by Lynch). In the film's ineffably weird epilogue, we hear the song again while the loving family watches the (mechanical) robin with its bug: at this point we have reached the classic moment of the Lynch/Badalamenti fusion.
If one may speak of a fully mature Badalamenti style, one can find it in his score for Twin Peaks, the TV series whose pilot film, directed by Lynch, was shown as a feature film in Europe and on video in the United States. The title track, like some spaced-out accompaniment to an unheard Country/Western song, seems on an endless loop with its repeated arpeggios and twangy steel-guitar-like notes. Later in the pilot film we do hear it backing a vocal line (though not remotely Country) sung by Julee Cruise, again with lyrics by Lynch—indeed, we see it performed, as the world's most improbable dance music for a biker roadhouse. A second important musical segment for Twin Peaks is the somber progression of notes, spare and tragic, first heard when the body of Laura Palmer is found; this segment often features a second part, when a piano enters and builds to a kind of soap-operatic pop climax, just short of parody—or well across the border—and thus perfect for various hyper-emotional scenes (the sheriff announcing Laura's death, or the love scene between the heartbroken teens James and Donna). A third category of Twin Peaks music is the sort that opens with finger-snapping in a '50s jazzy way, as if the Sharks and Jets of West Side Story are about to rumble. Various styles spin off from these openings: twangy guitar sounds for scenes with the hoodlum Bobby; a sax solo, suitable for a movie detective, used to introduce Agent Cooper; and other cool "bad-girl" music for the trampy Audrey. Like Twin Peaks itself, Badalamenti's music is vaguely "period" (1950s) yet contemporary, always either on the brink of parody or inhabiting some alternative universe beyond parody—in short, perfectly postmodern.
Badalamenti's music for the generally disliked feature-film prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, is not just a reprise of his material for the series but new and more elaborately jazzy. His music for other Lynch films has varied in its importance: for example, though he contributed some New-Orleans-style accompaniments for Wild at Heart, the soundtrack for that film is memorable more for Chris' Isaak's eerie "Wicked Game" and the glorious orchestral outburst that opens the last of Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs. In some non-Lynch films too, notably The Beach, his original scoring is secondary to pop-group selections.
Badalamenti's contribution to films other than Lynch's has been quite varied in style. Joel Schumacher's Cousins uses very little soundtrack music in its first hour, except for some discreet flute-and-guitar and solo flute accompaniment to early scenes between the notyet-lovers of the title. But there is also a little waltz on piano that gets orchestrated when the cousins run to each other on the train platform, and becomes a lovely if conventional "big theme" as the two become lovers and again when they marry at the end. For Paul Shrader's tale of murderous games in Venice, The Comfort of Strangers, Badalamenti comes up with a rather rich and dark Italianate tune, though with unusual 6-bar phrases, for the title music; but for various scenes of roaming about the haunted city he uses music of more Middle Eastern flavor, whether for solo flute, guitar, or strings with exotic percussion, as if the ghost of Othello were somewhere nearby. For City of Lost Children one might have expected music of a mocking grotesquerie to match the somewhat Terry-Gilliam-esque visuals, but although there are certainly eerie moments, and a waltz for a hurdy-gurdy that recalls the more deranged sort of French grand organ music, Badalamenti's largely string score is more often alternately somber and tender.
Badalamenti's most memorable score of recent years is probably his contribution to Lynch's The Straight Story. Here the flavors are more distinctively American than usual, suitably enough for a genial and touching tale of an elderly man who travels from Iowa to Wisconsin by lawnmower to visit his ailing brother. But the score never attempts to be imitation Copland or folk music. The title music, mostly strings and piano, rises in intensity through long, irregular phrases, but holds back from the heart-on-sleeve sentimentality of the "Laura Palmer" theme. For the leisurely "road music" the composer features a solo fiddle, suggesting a very much slowed-down bluegrass or square dance style. Most strikingly of all, a melody for solo guitar is used to accompany scenes about parting, or love, or both. We first hear it as Alvin's daughter looks at a child playing near a sprinkler, while (we later learn) she thinks about her own children who were taken away from her. It will be used several times again, accumulating meaning, as when Alvin says goodbye to one of his most important helpers along the way, and most powerfully at the end, when Alvin reaches his long-estranged brother. Here, as is the case with many of the greatest film scores, the music tells us things the characters cannot possibly articulate.