English singer Ed Sheeran took the witness stand on Tuesday, in a prominent copyright trial concerning whether his hit tune “Thinking Out Loud” plagiarized a classic Marvin Gaye song.
In his opening statement, Ben Crump, an attorney for the family of the co-writer of Gaye’s 1973 smash song “Let’s Get It On,” claimed that Sheeran had performed his ballad and Gaye’s song back-to-back in a medley during a concert. He referred to this as “smoking gun” evidence.
The heirs of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye, accuse Sheeran of plagiarizing the song.
The plaintiffs in the “Thinking Out Loud” case are identified as being Cherrigale Townsend’s estate, Kathryn Townsend Griffin, Helen McDonald, and Townsend’s sister. Townsend passed away in 2003, while Gaye died in 1984.
Sheeran’s legal team declined to question the musician in response to Rice’s queries, saying instead that they would like to ask him their own questions as they subsequently present their case.
Addressing the accusation that he copied songs, Sheeran said, “I’d be an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.”