Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – if you give shout outs to the work’s originator. If you don’t, and happen to make millions of dollars from it – you’re fucked. This is what Pharrell and Robin Thicke are learning as a Los Angeles jury has found them guilty of plagiarising Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to give it up’.
‘Blurred Lines’ was the target of vitriol from many cultural corners for it’s lyrics talking of domesticating women and, lets just say ‘suss’ subtexts. But, while the suss vibes were forgotten as the song spun out of radio play, the legal battle continued, and got kind of weird.
“Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up,’ Thick told GQ last year. “I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it.”
Then, maybe after he realised that things were getting heated legally, he backtracked and tried to excuse himself of accountability while throwing Williams to the dogs:
“I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio, So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted – I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit.
So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was and I – because I didn’t want him – I wanted some credit for this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song”
Even if Williams was the mastermind behind the song, you don’t do your friends like that. Especially if they single handedly revived your career and made you relevant again.
Williams and Thicke have been ordered to pay $7.4 million to the Gaye estate, which, considering the two made over $5 million each off the hit, still means they’ve come away from the ordeal more than a million up. Thicke however has lost credibility, which as MasterCard would say, is priceless.
Williams, Thicke, and T.I. (who was found not guilty) released the following statement in regards to the verdict:
“While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward. ‘Blurred Lines’ was created from the heart and minds of Pharrell, Robin and T.I. and not taken from anyone or anywhere else. We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.”