Pharrell Williams Testifies in 'Blurred Lines' Trial

Pharrell Williams Testifies in 'Blurred Lines' Trial

Skateboard P denies knowingly lifting Marvin Gaye’s music.

Published March 5, 2015

Pharrell Williams took the stand in the "Blurred Lines" trial Wednesday (March 4) to deny copyright infringement allegations, but did not discount similarities in the “feel” of the mega-single and Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” 

“I must’ve been channeling that feeling, that late-‘70s feeling,” he said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Sometimes when you look back on your past work, you see echoes of people. But that doesn’t mean that’s what you were doing.”

Williams also corroborated Robin Thicke’s admission that he wrote most of “Blurred Lines,” not the singer himself. As Williams recalled, the hit was created at Glenwood Place Studios in Burbank, Calif., over several days, although it took a few days for him to get started. “I call it surfing around. You start with chords or drums. In this case I started with drums.”

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Thicke wasn’t in the studio at the time but there were other artists around who influenced Williams. “I had Earl Sweartshirt in one room and Miley Cyrus in the other,” the Virginia Beach native said, explaining how “Blurred Lines” became a blend of “this country sound” and an “ump-tempo groove.”

Marvin Gaye’s children claim "Blurred Lines" is lifted from the late singer’s 1971 track. The suit revolves around sheet music rather than the actual recording, since the family does not own rights to the latter. Williams asserted that he never knowingly pulled from Gaye upon creating the song, including the lyric, “Shake around, get up, get down,” which the family argues was inspired by the “Got to Give It Up” line, “Move it up, turn it round, shake it down.” 

“In the average Black family of the ‘70s, that’s what we do when a song comes on. That’s what my dad used to say,” Williams explained of the lyric. 

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When asked, “Why wouldn’t you want to copy Marvin Gaye?” by the family’s attorney, Williams noted the deceased legend as “one of the ones we look up to so much” although he did not concede to being directly influenced by him for the hit single.

“This [courtroom] is the last place I want to be right now,” he said. “That’s the last thing you want to do as a creator is take something of someone else’s when you love him.”

“Blurred Lines” made over $16 million, and of that amount, Williams brought in $5.2 million. Thicke got $5.5, while T.I. — whose verse was a late addition to the song — received $704,774.  

The Atlanta rapper is expected to testify sometime today. 

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(Photo: David Buchan/Getty Images)

Written by Latifah Muhammad

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