The children of the late Marvin Gaye are suing Robin Thicke for the profits of Blurred Lines, which has sold 15 million copies, earning $5M each for Thicke and its songwriter Pharrell Williams, who testified yesterday as the trial ended.
Williams said after the song was released, he saw similarities between “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s work but said that wasn’t a conscious part of his creative process. Richard S. Busch, who represents the Gaye family, asked Williams whether he felt “Blurred Lines” captured the feel of the era in which Gaye recorded. “Feel,” Williams responded. “Not infringed.” The case opened last week and featured testimony from Thicke, who told jurors that he took a songwriting credit on “Blurred Lines” despite Pharrell doing most of the work. Thicke brought a bit of showmanship to a trial that has focused on minute details of chords and sheet music. He performed elements of “Blurred Lines” and hits by U2 and The Beatles to show how different songs can include similar-sounding musical elements. Williams did not perform any music during his more than hour of testimony, and complained that audio comparisons of “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” had been created in a way that made them sound similar.
Criticized by some as an endorsement of sexual assault, Blurred Lines topped the charts in dozens of countries and spent twelve weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, making it the biggest hit of 2013. Gaye’s single topped the pop, R&B, and disco charts in 1977.