17 August 2003
Remembering Ed Townsend
For your love,
Ed Townsend's "For Your Love" is one of the great R&B ballads of 1958, its simple lyric married to a spectacular orchestral (and choral, featuring the Blossoms) structure. Issued on Capitol 3926, it was a #7 R&B hit (#13 pop), though subsequent singles over the next three years failed to click.
Ed kept writing songs, though, and in 1963 he took over as the A&R man for Scepter/Wand in New York, replacing Luther Dixon. Theola Kilgore scored a 1963 hit with Ed's "The Love of My Man". "Foolish Fool", written and produced by Ed for Dee Dee Warwick in 1969, was nominated for a Grammy. In 1973, recovering from a bout with booze, Ed wrote "Let's Get It On", partly as a reminder to himself to get on with his life; once adopted by Marvin Gaye, it became an ode to sensuality that's still hard to beat thirty years later. Townsend's last big hit was "Finally Got Myself Together" for Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions.
Now Ed's gone; his heart finally gave out. He was 74. If you need me, I'll be at the record shelf.