Julee Cruise, the singer whose ethereal music deepened the drama of David Lynch’s work, has died aged 65.
Her husband, Edward Grinnan, wrote on Facebook: “She left this realm on her own terms. No regrets. She is at peace … I played her [B-52’s song] Roam during her transition. Now she will roam forever. Rest in peace, my love.”
Cruise’s best-known song was Falling – its instrumental, written by Angelo Badalamenti, was used as the theme to Twin Peaks, Lynch’s iconic TV show that debuted in 1990. Lynch wrote lyrics for Cruise’s vocal version, which reached No 7 in the UK charts, was a hit across Europe, and topped the Australian singles chart. It was included on her debut album Floating Into the Night, released in 1989.
Born in Iowa in 1956, Cruise began her collaborations with Lynch in 1986 for his film Blue Velvet, which prominently features her Badalamenti collaboration Mysteries of Love. In 1990, she appeared as a character called The Dreamself of the Heartbroken Woman in Lynch’s avant-garde theatre production Industrial Symphony No 1, alongside Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern.
Her songcraft has earned her a passionate cult following, drawn to Cruise’s deceptively pristine and innocent delivery. “Technically this music is so delicate that it’s a challenge just to sing it,” she said in 1990. ‘‘But at the same time, it allows me to be more dramatic, more psychotic than if I were just singing ‘Oh, baby, baby’ into the microphone. Certain things you can’t overact while you’re singing. This, I can overact and get away with it. I can stylise it.”
She appeared as a character in Twin Peaks, singing in the town’s bar, and in its movie spin-off Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. She also featured in Twin Peaks: The Return, Lynch’s third season of the show, in 2017.
In 2018, she said of their working relationship: “It’s like I’m his little sister: you don’t like your older brother telling you what to do. David’s foppish. He can have these tantrums sometimes. And have you ever seen his temper? Anybody can look funny when they get mad. But I love him.”
Another high-profile film collaboration came in 1991, when Cruise covered Elvis Presley’s Summer Kisses, Winter Tears for the soundtrack of Wim Wenders’ Until the End of the World.
Her albums were sporadic: she released The Voice of Love in 1993 – three of its songs from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me – then The Art of Being a Girl in 2002 and My Secret Life in 2011. She also toured as a member of the B-52’s during the 1990s, and other guest appearances include singing alongside Pharrell Williams on the track Class System by hip-hop duo Handsome Boy Modeling School.
In 2018, she announced she had been diagnosed with lupus, and complained of chronic pain.