Palmer later studied music at the Royal Military School of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music, majoring in composition and winning the Eric Coates Prize. Jethro Tull and other works 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 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 (under the name 'Ian Anderson') 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. 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. Male-to-female transition In 2003, Palmer's first name was changed to Dee and early in 2004, she announced having undergone sex reassignment surgery as well as having completed a full gender transition to become a woman. She said that prior to that, she had held the secret for about 60 years but had been married to a woman and had not transitioned for practical reasons. During these years, she was usually clad in decorative and gentlemanly attire, and smoked a "Sherlock Holmes" style pipe.
When Palmer's wife died, she came to terms with being a transsexual woman and started her transition. Ian Anderson was one of the people from Jethro Tull to fully accept her, saying "I have known for the past two years of David Palmer’s intention to undergo gender-changing procedures and, like many other people who have known David for three decades as a bearded, pipe-smoking man’s man, I found it difficult to understand at first. But I fully support his decision to undertake a new life as a woman. To the many fans of Jethro Tull, I can only offer that they should accept Dee Palmer for her new persona and hope that they enjoy her musical activities in the future". Jethro Tull Discography with Palmer Providing orchestral arrangements: This Was (1968) Stand Up (1969) Benefit (1970) Aqualung (1971) Thick as a Brick (1972) War Child (1974) Minstrel in the Gallery (1975) Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! (1976) As a full-time member: Songs from the Wood (1977) Heavy Horses (1978) Bursting Out (1978 live album) Stormwatch (1979) Nightcap : The Unreleased Masters 1972-1991 (1993) Symphonic arrangements A Classic Case, also known as Classic Jethro Tull (1986) We Know What We Like (Genesis) (1987) Orchestral Maneuvers: The Music Of Pink Floyd (1991) Symphonic Music of Yes (1993) Passing Open Windows: A Symphonic Tribute to Queen (1996) Orchestral Sgt.
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