A classically trained performer, he spent the early years of his career playing the Catskills resort area, later writing and arranging for singers including Shirley Bassey and country star Mel Tillis. Under the pseudonym Andy Badale, he entered the film industry in 1973, debuting with the score to the action film Gordon's War. Despite subsequent work on such features as Law and Disorder (1974) and Across the Great Divide (1976), Badalamenti remained largely unknown. In 1986, Badalamenti was hired to compose the score for David Lynch's Blue Velvet; subsequently, they continued their partnership, Badalamenti composing scores for films such as Wild at Heart and The Straight Story. Arguably the most famous collaboration of theirs was the cult hit television series Twin Peaks, for which Badalamenti created one of the most distinctive and evocative theme songs in television history.
The duo also wrote and produced a pair of records for ethereal chanteuse Julee Cruise: Floating Into the Night (1989), which contained some songs from Twin Peaks, and The Voice of Love (1993). They also staged an avant-garde musical theater piece titled Industrial Symphony No. 1, which was shown onstage twice in 1989. In 1996 collaborated with James vocalist Tim Booth, the fruits of their labors being the LP Booth and the Bad Angel. In 2005, Badalamenti composed part of the score for the video game Fahrenheit (known in North America as Indigo Prophecy), bringing his atmospheric ambience to a new medium.
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