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Sandy Denny was the most outstanding female singer that Britain has produced

40 years since her passing, no other artist in popular music has ever replicated her vocal brilliance

By Paul Lever  

Sandy Denny in 1972. Photo: David Bailey/Wikimedia Commons

She died, a burnt-out case, 40 years ago this week. She was 31 years old. The proximate cause of her death was a cerebral haemorrhage as a result of a fall downstairs. But her life had for a long time been a downward spiral of drink, drugs and loss of control.

Professionally it seemed to be all over. Her voice had gone (she had chain smoked for years); her weight had ballooned; her recording contract had not been renewed; her…

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