Angelo Badalamenti’s Christmas Music

Ho ho ho Angelo!

Still from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

That Christmas version of the Twin Peaks theme? Not the Maestro’s first Christmas themed song.

When Angelo Badalamenti was in his twenties and a teacher at Dyker Heights Intermediate School (aka P.S. 201), he made the bold decision to compose the school’s Christmas musical by himself. Unsurprisingly, the piece turned out so good the Department of Education caught wind of it, and soon after, PBS came to the Brooklyn school to film and subsequently air the show on television during the holiday season for a few years. Unfortunately, that footage is nowhere to be found, but the Maestro certainly did not stop composing Christmas songs.

Angelo Badalamenti - Christmas VacationAround the same time he was working on Julee Cruise’s debut album with David Lynch, he scored the 1989 Chevy Chase classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Its soundtrack was never officially released, but a rare bootleg featured Angelo Badalamenti’s Joy To The World which you can hear in one of the videos below. His original score for the opening titles didn’t even make the final cut as it was replaced by a more ‘poppy’ Mavis Staples song. But as a special treat for you, here’s the unused version featuring the Maestro’s music…

Angelo Badalamenti – Christmas Vacation Opening Titles

Angelo Badalamenti – Joy To The World (from Christmas Vacation)

A Christmas enthusiast called John Storms made a visualization of Joy To The World using his home’s holiday decoration and the Light-O-Rama S2 software, configured with a whopping 96 channels. Best neighbor ever?

NOTE: On the bootleg movie soundtrack, Christmas Vacation Medley is incorrectly credited to Angelo Badalamenti while it is actually Christmas At Carnegie Hall by John Williams from the Home Alone 2 soundtrack.

Christine Hunter – Santa Bring Me Ringo

Way before Christmas Vacation, the Maestro composed and arranged Christine Hunter’s 1964 Christmas single, “Santa, Bring Me Ringo.” If all you want for Christmas is a Beatle, this is a song for you…

And of course, let’s not forget Angelo Badalamenti’s official Christmas version of the Twin Peaks theme…

UPDATE: If you like the above, make sure to check out these Twin Peaks versions of some Christmas classics.

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Written by Pieter Dom

Founder and curator of Welcome to Twin Peaks since 2011. Bobsessed since March 1991.


Share your thoughts
  1. I had Mr. Badalamenti as my music teacher when I went to PS 201, and as every girl that had him for a teacher did, I had a huge crush on him! I was also in the PBS film, singing to his music. I always searched Google for a copy of that film, but never had any luck.

    • Hey Maria, I too had angelo badalamenti at ps 201. I was in the band class. I played the Ghost of Christmas Future in the school’s production of a Christmas Carol and also played it in the WNET Production. My song was: You Never Know. which if I recall correctly was his favorite. However, I thought every song in the show was beautiful, and frankly I remember all of them, and I have sung some in public. I too have had no luck in finding a copy of it.I tape recorded the first airing, but even that is gone! It was the greatest time of my life, knowing and loving Angelo. Do you remember our singing: We love you Angelo, oh yes we do,…(ByeBye Byrdie)… I’m always available to sing the entire show, maybe getting a musician to musically notate it for posterity. As Yogi Berra said : It aint over till it’s over! God Bless! -Philip Strumolo

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