Dee Palmer

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Dee Palmer
Birth nameDavid Victor Palmer
Born (1937-07-02) 2 July 1937 (age 85)
Hendon, London
  • Keyboards
  • clarinet
Years active1967–present
LabelsChrysalis Edit this at Wikidata

Dee Palmer (formerly David Palmer; born 2 July 1937) is an English composer, arranger,[1] and keyboardist best known for having been a member of the progressive rock group Jethro Tull from 1976 to 1980 (although she had worked with the band as an arranger since their inception in 1968).[2]

Early life and career[edit]

She later studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music with Richard Rodney Bennett, winning the Eric Coates Prize and The Boosey and Hawkes Prize and during her studentship taught clarinet to second study students. She was appointed a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music in 1994.[3]

Jethro Tull[edit]

Going about her early career as a jobbing arranger and conductor of recording sessions, Palmer recorded her first album project, Nicola, in 1967 with Bert Jansch. She was then referred to Terry Ellis, then manager of the early Jethro Tull, which was making its first album at Sound Techniques Studio in Chelsea, London. At short notice, Palmer came up with arrangements for the horns and strings on the Mick Abrahams composition, "Move on Alone" from the This Was album. This work and professional performance endeared her to the band[4] and she was soon to visit them again, with a string quartet arrangement to "A Christmas Song". Palmer arranged string, brass, and woodwind parts for Jethro Tull songs in the late 1960s and early 1970s, before formally joining the group in 1976 and primarily playing electronic keyboard instruments.

In 1980, leader Ian Anderson intended to release the album A with other musicians as a solo project, but was persuaded by his record label to release it instead under the Jethro Tull name. This resulted in every member of the group, including Palmer, leaving except guitarist Martin Barre and Anderson himself. Palmer formed a new group, Tallis, with former Jethro Tull pianist and organist John Evan. The new group was not commercially successful, and Palmer returned to film scoring and sessions.[citation needed]

Solo work[edit]

Beginning in the 1980s, Palmer produced several albums of orchestral arrangements of the music of various rock groups, including Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, the Beatles and Queen.[5]

In 2017 Palmer announced the release of her first solo album, Through Darkened Glass, which was released in January 2018 and has the guest appearance of former band-mate Martin Barre.[6][7][8]

In August 2019 Palmer appeared, alongside Barre, at Fairport's Cropredy Convention.[9]

Gender transition[edit]

In 1998, Palmer came out as transgender and intersex, changing her name to Dee. Palmer was born with genital ambiguity, assigned male at birth, and underwent several surgeries, the last in her late twenties. Palmer said her gender dysphoria had been a part of her life since she had been young, and that the dysphoria "started to reassert itself again" in the year following the death of her wife Maggie in 1995.[10][11][12]



  • Through Darkened Glass (2018)

With Jethro Tull[edit]

Providing orchestral arrangements
As a full-time member

Symphonic arrangements[edit]


  1. ^ Nollen, Scott Allen (2002). Jethro Tull: A History of the Band, 1968–2001. McFarland. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-0-7864-1101-6. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  2. ^ Buckley, Peter (1 November 2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. pp. 551–. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM)". Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  4. ^ Eder, Bruce. "David Palmer". VH1. Archived from the original on 31 March 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  5. ^ Thompson, Dave (1 November 2004). Turn It On Again: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins & Genesis. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 260–. ISBN 9780879308100. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Through Darkened Glass, by Dee Palmer". Dee Palmer. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Dee Palmer - Through Darkened Glass". Discogs. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  8. ^ Through Darkened Glass - Dee Palmer - Behind The Scenes on YouTube
  9. ^ Martin Barre Band: "Life is a Long Song" @ Fairport's Cropredy Convention; August 10, 2019 on YouTube
  10. ^ "Dee Palmer Interview with David Rees". Official Jethro Tull website. 29 June 2004. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  11. ^ Out. Here Publishing. December 2004. pp. 113–. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  12. ^ Wright, Jeb (October 2004). "Dee Palmer Interview". Classic Rock Revisited. Archived from the original on 4 February 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

External links[edit]