Pharrell Williams denies copying Marvin Gaye in 'Blurred Lines'

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Pharrell Williams denies copying Marvin Gaye in 'Blurred Lines'
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Pharrell Williams took the stand Wednesday, refuting claims that he copied parts of Marvin Gaye's 'Got to Give It Up' in his hit single 'Blurred Lines.'

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Grammy-winning artist Pharrell Williams took the stand Wednesday to fend off a claim in federal court that his hit song, "Blurred Lines," was not entirely original.

The 41-year-old composer, performer and producer admitted his song did have the feel of Marvin Gaye's iconic 1977 anthem, "Got to Give It Up," but that a feel did not equal infringement.

The family of Marvin Gaye alleges Williams and performer Robin Thicke borrowed elements of Gaye's song.

In court Wednesday, lawyers for the Gaye family zeroed in on publicized statements Williams made after "Blurred Lines" was released. He told one interviewer that when writing the song, "I was trying to pretend I was Marvin Gaye."

Williams explained that in retrospect he sang what he called "inflections" of the renowned R&B performer. However, he stressed he made that observation after he recorded "Blurred Lines."

There was "no preconceived notion, before it," Williams said.

The Gaye family's lawyers played clips produced on a keyboard comparing the two songs' signature lines, including what they claim is the hook in Gaye's "Got To Give It Up."

The Gaye family's lawyers claim Williams took the opening lyrics -- "I used to go out to parties" -- for the beginning of the chorus for "Blurred Lines."

Williams says the keyboard interpretation played in court had been pitched to make the clips sound similar. He said "Blurred Lines" had several hooks.

The Gaye family's attorney also probed Williams on what the credited co-creator Robin Thicke contributed to the song.

Williams testified that Thicke joined late in the composition process. Thicke had earlier told the court that all he added to the song was a single chord.

That's a pivotal point in the case because of several statements Thicke made during the "Blurred Lines" promotional campaign, including a time he agreed that "Blurred Lines" sounded like "'Got to Give It Up' Part 2."

Thicke pushed back from that comment on the witness stand, testifying that he didn't mean it, that he was high when he was on the promotional tour.

"I tell whatever I want to say to sell records," Thicke said.

Williams was asked if subconsciously he could have copied Gaye's song. He said if there was any similarity, the record company would have had the song analyzed by musicologists.

But was he inspired by Gaye?

Williams told the jury: totally.