Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack from the original run of Twin Peaks is one of the show’s most defining elements, but other than sharing a theme song, Twin Peaks: The Return has had a noticeable lack of the composer’s classic score. The one song that does show up—and in a very effective way, we might add—is “Laura Palmer’s Theme,” Badalamenti’s ode to the innocence and darkness that was battling inside the murdered young woman at the center of the show’s iconic mystery. It’s quite possibly Twin Peaks’ most impactful song, and this chilling video, taken from the documentary featurette Secrets From Another Place, shows Badalamenti reenacting the creative and emotional process that birthed it. It’s been around for awhile, but it’s been making the rounds again recently, and with good reason.
Sitting at the same beat-up Fender Rhodes electric piano he used to write the rest of the show’s soundtrack, Badalamenti remembers David Lynch being by his side, describing a scene inside a darkened forest. “Get me into that beautiful darkness with the soft wind,” he recalls Lynch saying. This prompted Badalamenti to lay down the song’s ominous beginning, which he vamped until the director described the appearance of “a very lonely girl” named Laura Palmer. Here, Badalamenti ascends to those heavenly piano chords, closing his eyes and remembering Lynch’s euphoric reaction as he pushed the composer toward the song’s climax and fall. “David got up. He gave me a big hug. He said, ‘Angelo, that’s Twin Peaks,’” Badalamenti says. Indeed it is.