Ed Sheeran performed and played guitar in front of a New York jury in a civil trial to determine if he copied Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, glamsquad reports
On Thursday, April 27, Sheeran detailed his whole artistic career and performed parts of the song in question, Thinking Out Loud, for around an hour.
The British singer-songwriter explained his approach for writing the song about everlasting love in 2014, just after he began a new romantic relationship and after his grandfather died, as the first witness in his own defense in front of a packed courtroom.
“I draw a lot of inspiration from things in my life and family,” Sheeran stated, explaining that the song was inspired by the love he witnessed between his grandparents.
The 32-year-old is being sued by the heirs of songwriter Ed Townsend, Gaye’s co-writer on the 1973 hit.
Townsend’s heirs are suing for a cut of the revenues from Thinking Out Loud, claiming that the syncopated chord progression was lifted from Let’s Get It On.
Sheeran spoke for about one hour on Thursday, outlining how his friend and collaborator Amy Wadge began strumming the chords for the song during a visit to his home in England, and how they collaborated on the lyrics.
He sang “I’m singing out now” on the stand, which he stated he sang during his songwriting session with Wadge. He believed the sentence sounded like “I’m thinking out loud,” therefore that became the title.
“When I write vocal melodies, it’s like phonetics,” Sheeran explained.
He then took a guitar from behind the witness stand, played the song’s chord pattern, and sang the opening lines: “When your legs don’t work like they used to.”
Sheeran told the court that he like to work rapidly, with most of his songs written in a day or even a matter of minutes. He claimed to have written up to eight or nine songs in a single day in the past.
Thinking Out Loud reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 2 in the US, and it received a Grammy for song of the year in 2016.
Townsend’s lawyers earlier this week revealed a video of Sheeran flawlessly moving between Thinking Out Loud and Let’s Get it On in a live performance they claimed amounted to a confession that he had ripped off the song.
In court, Sheeran responded, “Most pop songs can fit over most pop tunes… If I had done what you accuse me of doing, I’d be a complete moron to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that.”
On Wednesday, one of the plaintiffs, Townsend’s daughter Kathryn Griffin Townsend, collapsed and had to be carried out of court.
Griffin Townsend passed out just as Sheeran’s team was about to cross-examine a musicologist who had been brought in to testify that there was a significant similarity between the two songs.
Griffin Townsend previously testified, saying she wanted to “protect my father’s legacy,” but added that she brought the action reluctantly and described Sheeran as “a great artist with a great future.”
She is one of three claimants, along with Townsend’s sister Helen McDonald and the estate of Ed Townsend’s ex-wife Cherrigale Townsend.
Townsend died in 2003. Gaye died in 1984.
The trial is set to resume on Monday, May 1.
The current trial comes one year after Sheeran was cleared of plagiarism accusations in a London courtroom.