Julee Cruise, whose ethereal singing could conjure both nostalgic innocence and a menacing present, making her an ideal musical collaborator for David Lynch and the Twin Peaks director’s go-to composer Angelo Badalamenti, died Thursday. She was 65.
Her death was announced on Facebook by husband, the author and editor Edward Grinnan. A cause of death was not disclosed, but Grinnan wrote, “She left this realm on her own terms. No regrets. She is at peace.” Cruise disclosed in 2018 that she suffered from systemic lupus.
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Grinnan posted the message on the Facebook page of the band the B-52s. During the 1990s, Cruise often performed with the band, filling in for original co-vocalist Cindy Wilson when needed.
In the Facebook post, Grinnan wrote, “For those of you who go back I thought you might want to know that I said goodby to my wife, Julee Cruise, today. She left this realm on her own terms. No regrets. She is at peace. Having had such a varied music career she often said that the time she spent as a B filling in for Cindy while she was having a family was the happiest time of her performing life. She will be forever grateful to them. When she first stepped up to the mic with Fred [Schneider] and Kate [Pierson] she said it was like joining the Beatles. She will love them always and never forget their travels together around the world. I played her [the B-52s song] ‘Roam’ during her transition. Now she will roam forever. Rest In Peace, my love, and love to you all.”
Despite her stint with the New Wave band from Georgia, Cruise was best known for her collaborations with Lynch, first working with the director on the 1986 feature film Blue Velvet. Recommended by Badalamenti, with whom she had worked in the New York City theater scene, Cruise was recruited by Lynch to sing “Mysteries of Love”, the lovely, vaguely funereal song that ends the film.
Lynch and Badalamenti wrote additional songs for Cruise’s debut album, 1989’s Floating into the Night, and the three reteamed, perhaps most memorably, for Lynch’s groundbreaking and eccentric 1990-92 ABC television series Twin Peaks. Cruise provided the breathy vocals for the series’ songs “Into the Night” and “The Nightingale,” as well as for the soundtrack’s vocal version of the series’ instantly recognizable theme “Falling.”
Cruise made occasional appearances on the series as a local chanteuse, as she did in the 1992 feature film version Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Other Cruise songs would be used throughout the run of the series. She returned to the Lynchian universe for the 2017 Showtime revival Twin Peaks: The Return, performing the song “The World Spins.”
Following her 1989 debut album Floating into the Night, which included the Twin Peaks theme “Falling,” Cruise would go on to release additional LPs including The Voice of Love (1993), The Art of Being a Girl (2002) and My Secret Life (2011). Over the years, she would collaborate with such musicians as Moby, the Welsh electronic music group Hybrid, former members of Deee-Lite, Pharrell Williams, and Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, among others.
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