On the Trio


Adam Sweeting*2 “Julee Cruise obituary” https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/jun/13/julee-cruise-obituary


She was launched into the spotlight through her partnership with the composer Angelo Badalamenti and the film director David Lynch, with whom she first worked on Lynch’s film Blue Velvet (1986). Lynch and Badalamenti conceived the song Mysteries of Love for the soundtrack when they were unable to afford the rights for This Mortal Coil’s version of Tim Buckley’s Song to the Siren. The result was a mesmerising, slow-motion masterpiece, its tapestry of strings and synthesisers hanging in space as Cruise’s voice haunted the arrangement like a distant ghost.

The trio reconvened to record Cruise’s debut album Floating Into the Night (1989), a skilful mix of retro 1950s-style influences with dreamy and mysterious textures, all focused around Cruise’s shimmering vocals. The track Falling, with its ominous electric guitar twangs, became a cult phenomenon after Lynch used an instrumental version of it as the theme for his groundbreaking TV show Twin Peaks in 1990. As Falling went to No 7 and No 11 in the UK and US singles charts respectively, Cruise, who was working as a waitress at the time, suddenly found celebrity thrust upon her, not least via an invitation to appear on the TV show Saturday Night Live.

Other songs from the album were used in Twin Peaks and also in Lynch’s Industrial Symphony No. 1, an avant-garde concert performance staged in 1989 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, in which Cruise appeared with the actors Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern and Michael J Anderson. Her part called for her to hang 80ft above the stage wearing a prom dress.

Cruise made an appearance in the Twin Peaks’ pilot episode singing Falling, and featured in later instalments as a singer in the Roadhouse bar. She would also appear in its later iterations, the feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) and Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). “In the ruckus of beers flying through the air at The Roadhouse, we have Julee singing a beautiful, slow-tempo song, and it’s so outrageous,” Badalamenti said of her role. “The songs with Julee serve a two-fold purpose: they contrast the visuals and they set the tone for the show.”

She told the NME: “The way I see it is David [Lynch] is very talented and he’s formed a company of actors around him which he uses over and over again … I see myself as the musical wing of that company.”


She also performed regularly with Bobby McFerrin’s vocal group Voicestra, and other artists she collaborated with included Moby, Pharrell Williams, the Welsh electronic band Hybrid and the ambient duo Delerium. Her music has been used in TV shows including CSI: Miami and House.