The Music of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti

The Music of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti

It would be difficult to exaggerate Angelo Badalamenti’s contribution to David Lynch’s body of work. Unlike other director/ composer teams like Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herman or Stephen Spielberg and John Williams, where the music was written to existing film, this collaboration began when the stories were still part of Lynch’s meditations. Like a patient to a therapist, Lynch would describe moods and feelings, dramatic through-lines that were yet to be connected, with Badalamenti improvising a musical response. This might explain how the music feels so integrated within the films, seeming to know what transpired behind the white picket fences in the suburbs of Blue Velvet, or between the owls in the forest surrounding Twin Peaks.

Theirs was a perfect pairing of two men who were equal parts twins and opposites: Badalamenti found life in Lynch’s imagination, in turn, the auteur found a welcome restraint in the composer’s formality. The result is a union forged so seamlessly that it becomes impossible to determine where one of them stops and the other begins. The following is a mix of collaborations between the two, as well as selected pieces of pre-recorded music from Lynch’s films, without which some of Badalamenti’s efforts might feel incomplete.

“My musical world is a little bit dark… a little bit off-center. I think of it as tragically beautiful. That is how I would describe what I love best: tragically beautiful.”

– Angelo Badalamenti

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      David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti

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In Heaven – The Lady in the Radiator (Eraserhead)
The Elephant Man Theme – John Morris (Elephant Man)
The Prophesy Theme – Toto w/ Brian Eno (Dune)
Sandy’s Dream – Excerpt from Blue Velvet
Main Title – Angelo Badalamenti (Blue Velvet)
Mysteries of Love (French Horn Solo) – Angelo Badalamenti (Blue Velvet)
Love Letters – Ketty Lester (Blue Velvet)
Blue Velvet, Blue Star (Montage) – Angelo Badalamenti (Blue Velvet)
Frank’s Toast – Excerpt from Blue Velvet
In Dreams – Roy Orbison (Blue Velvet)
Twin Peaks Tapes (Excerpt) – Special Agent Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks)
Twin Peaks Theme – Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks)
Fire Walk With Me Poem – The One Armed Man (Twin Peaks)
The World Spins – Julee Cruise (Twin Peaks)
Just You – James, Donna and Maddy (Twin Peaks)
Best Friends – Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks)
Twin Peaks Tapes (Excerpt) – Special Agent Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks)
Sycamore Trees – Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks/ Fire Walk With Me)
Love Me – Nicolas Cage (Wild at Heart)
Be-Bop A Lula – Blue Caps & Gene Vincent (Wild at Heart)
Perdita – Rubber City (Wild at Heart)
Blue Spanish Sky – Chris Isaak (Wild at Heart)
Song to the Siren – This Mortal Coil (Lost Highway)
Rose’s Theme – Angelo Badalamenti (Straight Story)
Laurens Walking – Angelo Badalamenti (Straight Story)
A Man’s Attitude – Excerpt from Mullholland Drive
Dinner Party Pool Music – Angelo Badalamenti (Mullholland Drive)
I’ve Told Every Little Star – Jerome Kern (Mullholland Drive)
Crying (Llorando) – Rebekah Del Rio (Mullholland Drive)

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FEATURE: For those wishing to delve deeper into the world of Twin Peaks, friend of the site Tom Huddleston has co-written an outstanding guide to the series, including a particularly insightful essay on the feature length prequel, Fire Walk With Me. NotComing Guide to Twin Peaks