Angelo Badalamenti, Longtime David Lynch Composer of ‘Twin Peaks’ Theme and More, Dies at 85

Badalamenti composed music for film and TV and collaborated with greats including Paul McCartney and David Bowie

Composer Angelo Badalamenti performs at the David Lynch Foundation in 2009
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Angelo Badalamenti, the composer who wrote the theme music for “Twin Peaks” and several other David Lynch projects, has died, according to a family statement. He was 85.

Badalamenti died Sunday at his New Jersey home, his niece said in a statement posted on Instagram.

“My great uncle Angelo Badalamenti has crossed the barrier onto another plane of existence,” the statement, from niece Frances Badalamenti, reads. “Between his work on ‘Blue Velvet,’ ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Cabin Fever,’ ‘Nightmare On Elm Street 3’ and a plethora of others, plus his relationships & collaborations with David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Nina Simone, Julee Cruise, Isabella Rosselini, Dolores O’Riordan, Anthrax, Dokken, Eli Roth and especially David Lynch, he has always been the most interesting man in the world to me.”

Lynch did not address Baladamenti’s death on his daily “weather report” video on YouTube, other than to say: “Today … no music.”

Badalamenti, a preternaturally gifted pianist and composer from a young age, went from teaching music at a Brooklyn junior high to composing for Lynch after he was brought on as a vocal coach to help Isabella Rossellini sing a cover song for the 1986 film “Blue Velvet.” But when Lynch failed to secure the copyright for the song, Badalamenti and Lynch wrote a new song together – and were off to the races from there.

Badalamenti would go on to compose the unforgettably haunting theme music for “Twin Peaks,” an eclectic mix of natural instruments and synth sounds – and scored the many themes and variations that repeated throughout the show’s episodes. Besides “Blue Velvet” and “Twin Peaks,” Badalamenti scored Lynch films “Wild at Heart,” “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” “Lost Highway,” “The Straight Story” and “Mulholland Drive.”

As versatile as he was prolific, Badalamenti wrote a jazz record with Lynch, composed theme music for NBC’s Olympic broadcasts, wrote a country song with Norman Mailer, and scored films for directors Paul Schrader, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Jane Campion, Danny Boyle and Eli Roth.

Badalamenti is survived by his wife, Lonny, and one daughter, Danielle.