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Robert Sandall dies

Paul Williams
Robert Sandall dies

The 58-year-old, who passed away this morning, spent a quarter of a century covering music via a variety of newspapers, magazines and radio stations, including presenter of Radio 3's Mixing It and Late Junction programmes and as a writer for Q and GQ.

He became the Sunday Times' rock critic in 1988, while later added TV presenting to his talents by working for Anglia Television and VH1.

In 1996 he surprised many by agreeing to take up a post as director of communications at Virgin Records UK, although he continued his other interests alongside the new job with the proviso he could not review or write about Virgin acts or those signed to its owner EMI.

His time at Virgin coincided with the then Paul Conroy-led operation being arguably the UK's hottest record company, a situation more than helped by the launch of the Spice Girls. Having topped the UK chart, the group's debut album Spice went on to become a chart-topper across the globe, including in the US where it was the biggest-selling album of 1997.

Other notable successes for Virgin during his tenure included Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack, The Verve and a hugely-profitable compilations division whose output included the Now! albums and The Best Album In The World...Ever series.

He left Virgin in 2002, allowing him to return exclusively to his writing and broadcasting interests, while, besides continuing to cover music, he also began to write about health issues, including his own cancer battle and contributing a well received wine column for GQ.

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