SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) – Ed Townsend, who wrote hit songs including 1958’s “For Your Love” and Marvin Gaye’s controversial “Let’s Get It On,” has died. He was 74. Townsend, who wrote more than 200 songs, died of heart failure Wednesday in a San Bernardino hospital.

Nat King Cole and Etta James were among the stars who recorded Townsend’s songs. One of his first hits was “For Your Love” – which Townsend recorded himself, at the suggestion of Capitol Records executive Joe Zerga.

“The simplicity of the song was what makes it enduring to the people,” said Clyde Otis, chairman of the Clyde Otis Music Group and a friend of Townsend’s since the 1950s. “Ed had no idea it would become that popular.”

“Let’s Get It On,” released in 1973, had an overt sexual theme that generated criticism. But Townsend insisted the song was actually about getting on with life. He also wrote and produced the Impressions’ 1974 No. 1 R&B hit “Finally Got Myself Together (I’m A Changed Man).”

Townsend, a Fayetteville, Tenn., native, grew up singing in the choir at the church where his minister father preached.

He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s.

Survivors include his wife, Janice; four children, a brother, a sister, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

AP-ES-08-16-03 2343EDT

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