Raymond Andrew's career in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) began two years after the independent discoveries of the phenomenon by Edward Purcell of Harvard University (Purcell et al. 1946) and by Felix Bloch of Stanford University (Bloch et al. 1946) for which they shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1952. Andrew developed a wide spectrum of applications of the phenomenon of ‘motional narrowing’ in the NMR spectra of solids, and initiated an experimental technique, ‘magic-angle spinning’, which he expanded into the major research field of high-resolution NMR spectroscopy of solids. He also made influential early and longer-term contributions to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), now of major importance in clinical medicine. His scientific work was notable for his close interweaving of its theoretical and experimental aspects. Andrew's exceptional powers of exposition assisted many others to understand and develop the sophisticated field of NMR spectroscopy.