Del Palmer, the longtime bassist for singer-songwriter Kate Bush, passed on Jan. 5 at age 71 from as yet unknown causes. Since then, dozens of accolades and remembrances have poured forth from the music industry. The final tribute has now emerged from Bush on her official website, posted Jan. 10.
It’s hard to know what to say… He was a big part of my life and my work for many years.
It’s going to take a long time to come to terms with him not being here with us.
He was incredibly creative – talented in lots of different ways. He was a brilliant musician, bass player, a great artist – he was always drawing. Once he covered a whole recording consul in cartoons. It took him days and it looked absolutely stunning.
He taught himself to be a recording engineer, engineering several of my albums and later releasing his own.
The image above is a mosaic that Del made. He called it Tree of Life.
I’m going to miss him terribly.
Palmer left an indelible legacy with his contributions, both professionally and personally, in the canon of Bush's musical career. He began his association with Bush in 1977 as the bassist for the KT Bush Band. As a touring unit from March to August they played around London, testing out material that would eventually work its way into her first album. As Bush had already begun her affiliation with EMI, it was predicted that the band, including Palmer, guitarist Brian Bath and drummer Vic King would follow her into the studio to record.
Instead, Bush was convinced to substitute her band with seasoned session musicians. The Kick Inside was released in February 1978 and the follow-up in November, Lionheart, were a brazen signal to the world that Kate Bush would be doing things her way moving forward. Palmer was there in the French recording studio for Lionheart and also with her as a partner, a romantic relationship that stretched until the early 1990s.
Her third album Never for Ever, released in 1980, and her next, The Dreaming in 1982, had Palmer on various iterations of bass guitar. He was also featured on the front cover photograph, in character as Harry Houdini (to her Bess Houdini), one of Bush's inspirations in the two-year timeframe creating the album.
Palmer then went on to add an engineering credit on Bush's studio output, contributing his talents to Hounds of Love (1985), The Sensual World (1989), The Red Shoes (1993), Ariel (2005) and 50 Words For Snow (2011).
After he ended his tenure with Bush, he worked with multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood, released three solo albums and in 2018, played a series of live shows with the Kate Bush tribute band Cloudbusting.
Palmer's death was confirmed online by his niece, Debbii Louise Palmer and in a family statement, concluded "We will be talking much more about his incredible life and career in the coming days as we remember this remarkable musician and wonderful, irreplaceable man."