R&B Songwriter Ed Townsend Dies of Heart Attack
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Rhythm-and-blues songsmith Ed Townsend, who wrote the 1958 hit “For Your Love” and worked with soul legend Marvin Gaye, has died after heart failure, his family said on Saturday. He was 74.
Townsend, a balladeer who became interested in singing when he joined the choir of his minister father’s church, died on Wednesday at his home, Ron Brewington, the executive director of the Motown Alumni Association said. Townsend’s wife, Janice, was by his side when he died in Sun City, California.
Known as “”Big Papa” by friends, Townsend is credited for helping craft a string of R&B hits recorded by Nat “”King” Cole, the Impressions and Etta James. During a career that spanned five decades, Townsend penned over 200 songs.
He is most widely known for producing Gaye’s controversial 1973 hit “Let’s Get It On.” The song highlights Gaye’s soulful voice and Townsend’s sexually suggestive lyrics.
A funeral service has been scheduled for Wednesday.