Obituaries: Julee Cruise, singer known for the haunting theme of Twin Peaks

When David Lynch’s bizarre cult melodrama Twin Peaks first aired in April 1990, it delivered an unsettling plot like nothing else on television at the time. Its idiosyncratic script, characters, and visual aesthetic were hugely influential, but its haunting music, co-written by Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti, had arguably the most widespread appeal—and voice whispering its sweet nothings— bitters so seductively belonged to Julee Cruise.

Cruise, who died by suicide at the age of 65, was a performer more accustomed to performing vigorous musical theater numbers when she first met Badalamenti in New York in the early 1980s.

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Their first film collaboration was The Mysteries of Love, written for the bizarre classic Blue Velvet, the 1986 film that cemented David Lynch’s twisted vision of the stockade. Lynch couldn’t afford to license his initial choice of music – This Mortal Coil’s spectral siren song, sung by Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser – so he and Badalamenti wrote their own pop reverie equally ethereal orchestral.

Julee Cruise was once a temporary member of the B-52s (Photo: Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

Cruise was asked to find a suitable singer – when her initial suggestions were overruled, she took the gig herself, curbing her natural full-throated tendencies to create what became her signature wispy.

She and Badalamenti had even more success with Falling, recorded for her 1989 debut album Floating into the Night. When Lynch used an instrumental version of the track as the resounding theme song to Twin Peaks, it propelled Cruise to unexpected chart success.

When she got the call to appear on Saturday Night Live, she was working as a waitress – instead of calling in sick, she said she called famous. The show’s exposure led to three more solo albums.

Cruise cemented his place in Lynchian lore by appearing in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, singing Fallout in the city’s bizarre Roadside bar. She made later cameos as the Girl Singer during the show’s original run and also appeared in the follow-up feature Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) and the late third series, Twin Peaks: The Return (2017), singing The World Spins. from Floating Into the Night in the penultimate episode.

Reflecting on her experience at Twin Peaks, she told the Los Angeles Times that “it was so fun to be a part of something that just went boom!” You didn’t know it was going to do this. What a wonderful surprise life has in store for you.

Julee Ann Cruise was born and raised in the railroad town of Creston, Iowa. His father John was the town dentist; his mother Wilma ran his office. She studied French horn at Drake University in the state capital, Des Moines, before branching out into singing and acting, moving first to Minneapolis and then to New York in the early 1980s, where she appeared in musical theater and sang the role of Janis Joplin in the off. -The Broadway production of Beehive: The Musical of the 60s.

She and Badalamenti first crossed paths when she was cast on a country and western show, but the music they later created had its roots in the 50s pop ballad and tragedy subgenre. teenager characterized by Johnny Remember Me and Tell Laura I. Love her. At first they struggled for recognition, with Badalamenti noting that “even the most forward-thinking stations found it unusual, so it was difficult to get airplay. But when Falling became the main title theme for Twin Peaks, it was a whole different story.

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Lynch alumnus Chris Isaak also exploited retro Americana couture on the Wild At Heart soundtrack, and in 1990 Cruise appeared alongside Wild at Heart stars Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern in a Lynch Theater extravaganza. called Industrial Symphony No 1.

She also covered Elvis Presley’s Summer Kisses, Winter Tears on the soundtrack to Wim Wenders’ sci-fi odyssey To the End of the World and released her second album, The Voice of Love, in 1993. Cruise later described it as “soup”; it was his last album collaboration with Lynch and Badalamenti.

Her next album, The Art of Being a Girl, released in 2002, moved away from dreamy pop towards lounge jazz and featured her own compositions. His latest album, 2011’s My Secret Life, was a trip-hop inspired collaboration with DJ Dmitry, formerly of Groove is in the Heart hitmakers Deee-lite.

In 1988, Cruise married author and publisher Edward Grinnan, who noted that the happiest period of his professional life was touring as a member of the B-52s when one of their original members, Cindy Wilson, took a sabbatical in the 90s. Cruise’s involuntary audition was his role in a 1991 production of Return to the Forbidden Planet.

Cruise has also toured with jazz singer Bobby McFerrin, sang alongside Pharrell Williams on Handsome Boy Modeling School’s song Class System, and played a variety of plum roles in New York’s Public Theater production of Keith Haring. bio-musical Radiant Baby – including Andy Warhol, Haring’s mother, a demonic nurse and a critic looking a lot like Susan Sontag.

However, Cruise was diagnosed with systemic lupus in 2018, significantly affecting his mobility and exacerbating his depression.

His last musical release was a 2018 EP titled Three Demos, which featured the original demo recordings of Lynch/Badalamenti classics Floating, Falling and The World Spins.

Upon learning of his death, Lynch hailed Cruise as “a great musician, a great singer, and a great human being,” while Twin Peaks star Kyle McLachlan said “his angelic voice transported us all to another place. dimension. Now she floats among the angels.

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