Singer Ed Sheeran has said he will permanently quit music if he is found guilty of copying Marvin Gaye’s classic track ‘Let’s Get It On’ in his song ‘Thinking Out Loud’.
Ed Sheeran is currently undergoing trial for copyright infringement and plagiarism after he was sued by Ed Townsend – one of the co-writers of the Marvin Gaye music ‘Let’s Get It On”, which was released on August 28, 1973. Ed Townsend had accused Ed Sheeran of copying the song in his 2015 ‘Thinking Out Loud’.
According to Townsend, Sheeran and co-writer Amy Wadge copied the rhythm of the 1973 song, as well as an ascending four-chord sequence. It also references “striking similarities” between the two tracks that violate the copyright.
Ed Sheeran denied his accusations and while taking a stand in a court in Manhattan on Monday, said he will be be “done” with music if found guilty.
‘If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,’ Sheeran said when asked by his attorney Ilene Farkas about the toll the trial is taking on him.
‘I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it,’ the ‘Shape of You’ singer added.
At the Manhattan federal court last week, lawyers for Townsend’s heirs displayed a video of Sheeran transitioning seamlessly between ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and ‘Let’s Get it On’ while singing during a live performance.
Doing so, they said, amounted to a confession that he had ripped off the song.
But in court on Monday, Sheeran said that ‘mash-ups,’ is a common practice done by performers, including him, and that he had on other occasions combined ‘Thinking Out Loud’ with Van Morrison’s ‘Crazy in Love’ and Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You.’
‘I mash up songs at lots of gigs. Many songs have similar chords. You can go from “Let It Be” to “No Woman No Cry” and switch back,’ he said.
‘And quite frankly, if I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that,’ he added.
He also noted that his “Thinking Out Loud” song was actually inspired by Irish musician Van Morrison.
To prove his point, the singer strummed the four-chord sequence he is accused of lifting from ‘Let’s Get It On,’ as part of his rendition of Morrison tracks, including ‘Tupelo Honey’ and ‘Crazy Love.’
The court trial is expected to last a week and will have the jury listen to recordings of both tracks while focusing on their melody, harmony, and rhythm.