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Ed Townsend

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Edward Benjamin ‘Ed’ Townsend (April 16, 1929 – August 13, 2003) was an American rhythm and blues singer, songwriter, producer and attorney. He was best known for performing his composition “For Your Love”, a rhythm and blues doo wop classic and as the co-writer of “Let’s Get It On” with Marvin Gaye.

Townsend was born in Fayetteville, Tennessee and his family soon moved to Memphis where his father was pastor at an African Methodist Episcopal church.

The year Townsend graduated from high school, he was elected to the International American Methodist Episcopal Youth Council (IAMEYC) and travelled worldwide before enrolling in college the next year at Arkansas State College. After graduating, he taught for a year. Although he never formally practiced law, he frequently used his law training to assist other entertainers in negotiating their recording and performance contracts.

In 1951, Townsend joined the United States Marine Corps and served in Korea. After his discharge, he recorded a number of singles for various labels, none of which made the charts. In 1958, he took his ballad, “For Your Love” to Capitol Records, hoping to interest Nat “King” Cole, but, impressed with his voice, Capitol signed him to record it himself. Dick Clark had just started American Bandstand on television and invited Townsend to sing the first month the show aired. He was an overnight success and the song shot up the US pop chart, reaching #13.

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