|Townsend is perhaps best known for his own hit single, "For Your Love," which earned him a BMI R&B Award in 1958, as well as a BMI Million-Air award in recognition of over one million broadcast performances. He also co-wrote and produced the Marvin Gaye classic, "Let's Get It On," which won a BMI Pop Award in 1973. Also a Million-Air, the #1 hit generated much criticism for its theme, but Townsend insisted the song was actually about getting on with life.|
Other songs penned by Townsend include the 1963 BMI R&B Award-winning "Love of My Man," recorded by numerous artists such as Etta James, Theola Kilgore, and Dionne Warwick, and the Impressions' 1974 #1 R&B hit, "Finally Got Myself Together (I'm A Changed Man).''
Born in Fayetteville, Tenn., in 1929, Townsend grew up singing in the choir at the church where his minister father preached. He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s. One of the last songs he wrote was "Count Every Grain Of Sand In The Desert," a tribute to the men and women stationed in the Middle East.
Townsend is survived by his companion, Janice, of Sun City, Calif.; two sons, Edward David Townsend and Clef Michael Townsend, both of Reseda, Calif.; a daughter, Kathryn Griffin of Houston, Texas; his brother Earl F. Townsend of Los Angeles and his sister Helen McDonald of Sun City, Calif.; three grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews. Townsend was predeceased by one brother and one sister.