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Del Palmer, long-time Kate Bush bassist and engineer, dies at 71

Del Palmer, the long-time bass player and former romantic partner of Kate Bush, has died at the age of 71.

In a message posted by his niece Debbii Louise Palmer, it was confirmed that Palmer passed away on Friday (January 5), surrounded by his family. According to fan site Kate Bush News, Palmer had been dealing with health issues for several years.

The musician, songwriter and sound engineer played on every Kate Bush album from 1978’s ‘Lionheart’ to her most recent record, 2011’s ‘50 Words for Snow’.

Kate Bush – ‘The Dreaming’ (1982) cover art

Palmer began playing bass in 1967, forming multiple bands with his friend Brian Bath, including Conkers, who released a series of singles on Cube Records in the early 1970s.

In 1977, Kate Bush recruited Palmer and Bath, as well as Vic King, to form the KT Bush Band, who played on the pub circuit around London.

Palmer went on to play bass on ‘Lionheart’, Bush’s second studio album, and joined her on tour the following year. In addition to playing on the albums, Palmer was also credited as an engineer on the classic albums ‘Hounds of Love’ (1985), ‘The Sensual World’ (1989), ‘The Red Shoes’ (1993) and ‘Aerial’ (2005).

Palmer and Bush were romantically attached for many years up until the early 1990s, and remained friends and collaborators for the rest of their careers.

Palmer also holds the distinction of being the only man ever to appear on the cover of a Kate Bush album, playing the ‘Houdini’ character that is preparing to have a key passed to him mouth-to-mouth by Bush on 1982’s ‘The Dreaming’. The imagery was invoked recently by Dua Lipa’s promotion for her single ‘Houdini’.

Palmer also recorded three solo albums since 2007, most recently ‘Point of Safe Return’ in 2015, and has also collaborated with artists including Roy Harper and Midge Ure.

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