Del Palmer, Kate Bush’s longtime bass player and engineer, has died


SDE’s Paul Sinclair with Del Palmer in 2016

Del Palmer, who played bass on virtually all of Kate Bush’s albums – and was romantically involved with Kate for a long time – died yesterday, his family have announced.

Del was there from the very beginning, playing the pub circuit with Kate as part of the KT Bush Band in 1977 and from Lionheart onwards he contributed to all her albums in some way, shape or form. He played bass on most of them and engineered them all from 1985’s Hounds of Love onwards.

Despite the the end of their personal relationship in the early 1990s, Kate stayed loyal to Del and he recorded/engineered later albums such as 2005’s Aerial and what is Kate’s most recent album, 2011’s 50 Words For Snow. Del also played bass on songs on of those both albums.

In return, Palmer was fiercely loyal to Kate as well, and while he made a rare on-screen contribution to the 2014 BBC documentary The Kate Bush Story – Running Up That Hill, he mostly refused interview requests to discuss his work with Kate, including from this writer! But I did meet Del in 2016 (as you can see from the photo above) and he was a sweet and charming man.

Palmer recorded three solo albums in the last 15 years or so and made a surprise appearance at the London’s Islington Assembly Halls in 2018, joining Kate Bush tribute act Cloudbusting on stage for a track or two. He later played with them on a few other occasions.

Del Palmer is also the only man to appear on the cover of a Kate Bush album. He’s ‘Houdini’ on the front of 1982’s The Dreaming and is about to be “passed the key” by Kate.

On her website Kate Bush called Del “a brilliant musician, bass player, a great artist” and said “I’m going to miss him terribly”.

Del Palmer died aged 71. Condolences to family and friends.

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