In honor of David Lynch’s release on vinyl of his single “Good Day Today” (and our love of all things Lynch), Noise Narcs is posting on the music of, for, and about David Lynch this week. See our intro post (and claim of Lynch as a Philadelphian) here, and see the rest of the DLW posts here.
Of all the signposts of Lynch’s oeuvre, perhaps the most recognizable is the soundtrack work of composer Angelo Badalamenti. A combination of melodramatic vamp, seedy jazz, and atmospheric menace, his work on Lynch’s major films and television since Blue Velvet (absent only for the recent Inland Empire) is breathtaking, one of the all time great director/composer collaborations. But it’s also a collaboration that almost never happened.
Although Badalamenti had done some relatively obscure composition work (for Gordon’s War and Law and Disorder), his initial role on Blue Velvet was only as Isabella Rossellini’s singing coach for the movie’s rendition of “Blue Velvet.” Lynch also planned on having Rossellini sing Tim Buckley’s “Song to a Siren.” But, depending on whom you ask, Lynch either failed to secure the rights for “Siren” or couldn’t find the room in his budget. Needing a similar song of longing love, Lynch decided to write the lyrics for “Mysteries of Love” himself. And turned to Badalamenti to write the music. The rest is film history.
But Lynch wasn’t done with “Siren”; he used This Mortal Coil’s version for a love scene in Lost Highway. Speaking of Lost Highway, if you haven’t read David Foster Wallace’s brilliant essay on the making of the film, get on “David Lynch Keeps His Head” stat. And, this little tidbit about OJ Simpson from Lynch’s book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity [via Scanners] will melt everything you thought you knew about LH:
At the time Barry Gifford and I were writing the script for “Lost Highway,” I was sort of obsessed with the O.J. Simpson trial. Barry and I never talked about it this way, but I think the film is somehow related to that.
What struck me about O.J. Simpson was that he was able to smile and laugh. He was able to go golfing with seemingly very few problems about the whole thing. I wondered how, if a person did these deeds, he could go on living. And we found this great psychology term — “psychogenic fugue” — describing an event where the mind tricks itself to escape some horror. So, in a way, “Lost Highway” is about that. And the fact that nothing can stay hidden forever.