The Story Behind Angelo Badalamenti’s “Heartbreaking” And The Pianist Playing It In Twin Peaks Part 11

After that first glimpse of Alicia Witt, some of you might have expected to see her playing the piano again during the end credits like she did in Episode 8. We did get a piano song, but it was certainly not Alicia on the keys. 

But who was that pianist at Santino’s? For once, Part 11’s end credits revealed nothing. So for a while, the Internet was abuzz trying to identify the silver-haired piano player. Is it Angelo Badalamenti? No, it’s NOT Angelo Badalamenti!

Of course, the music is Angelo Badalamenti.

(This is Angelo Badalamenti, by the way)

Is it Burt Bacharach? No, not him either.

Mel Brooks? Now you’re just pulling my frog moth leg.

It’s okay if you didn’t recognize Count Smokula, Bob Dylan’s accordionist or Walter from The Vamps Next Door. Luckily, his friends did and began sending him messages on Facebook soon after Part 11 aired. That’s how Robert “Smokey Miles found out his scene finally aired, about a year-and-a-half after he got a last-minute call from the casting director.

“At the end of the day, I sat down at the piano and David Lynch directed me in a most interesting, personal and deep way,” Smokey tells Welcome to Twin Peaks. “He created mental pictures for me to play soft, romantic Italian music with my eyes closed. I did it in a couple of takes and he said he was happy with it.” At the time of filming, Angelo Badalamenti hadn’t even composed the music for the restaurant scene yet, but “David Lynch knew exactly what he was going after and set the mood.”

Assumably, he gave Angelo Badalamenti the exact same mental pictures over the phone. Dean Hurley tells KEXP David called up Angelo on the East Coast and said “I need some Italian restaurant music. Gimme three songs: one of them should be kinda peppy, one of them should be slow and sad and heartbreaking.”

Without seeing a single frame, Angelo sent three songs which were then simply placed in the editing timeline, one after the other, and they fit in… just like that. How? “Because he’s Italian!” David Lynch argued.

The question remains, why did the melancholic part trigger a reaction from Dale Cooper? Was it because of the two notes —the ones right before the Lynch & Frost Productions bumper— that sound like Laura Palmer’s Theme? Or something else?

Just like “The Chair,” “The Fireman” and “The Accident,” Angelo Badalementi’s “Heartbreaking” will appear on Twin Peaks (Limited Event Series Original Soundtrack) (Amazon) out September 8, 2017. You can listen to it below or as part of the Twin Peaks 2017 soundtrack playlist on Spotify.

Angelo Badalamenti – Heartbreaking

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