One of the most popular songs from 2013, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, has sparked a plagiarism row between the songs writers and producers and the family of Marvin Gaye.
Along with co-writer Pharrell Williams and rapper TI who both featured on the song, Thicke is being sued by Gaye’s children Frankie and Nona Gaye for an estimated $40m (£26m).
The family claim Thicke’s hit single bears an uncanny resemblance to Gaye’s 1977 song, Got to give it up, and after listening to it, you can sort of see where they’re coming from.
The bass-line and percussion rhythm is remarkably similar as is the tempo. But Williams who wrote a main portion of the song denies copying Gaye’s music, however he did recognise there was a likeness.
But should an artist really be punished for that? There is so much music out there and artists are often inspired by each other, so it’s not unlikely that the same beat or guitar riff would come round more than once.
But Thicke didn’t exactly help himself when he stated in an interview with GQ in 2013 that whilst attempting to come up with ideas for a new song, he had told Williams one of his favourite songs was Marvin Gaye’s Got to give it up.
However Thicke and Williams claim there is a difference between taking influence from an artist of a certain genre and plagiarism.
“Sometimes when you look back on your past work, you see echoes of people…But that doesn’t mean that’s what you were doing,” Williams stated in a Los Angeles court room.
In an attempt to protect themselves the songs writers and performers pre-emptively sued the Gaye estate back in 2013 with the hope of preventing them from counter suing, however it doesn’t seem to have had the desired affect.
And Thicke, who seems to be having a bit of a rough time lately after recently divorcing his wife, is now trying to shift the majority of the blame onto Williams claiming he was too “high on Vicodin and alcohol when [he] showed up at the studio” to be that involved.
But was Gaye, described as the ‘Prince of Mowtown and Soul‘, just used as inspiration? Or did the Blurred Lines singers take a little more than they should have done.