Marvin Gaye’s Children ’Set the Record Straight’ in Open Letter

Marvin Gaye’s Children ’Set the Record Straight’ in Open Letter

Family explains the legalities behind “Blurred Lines,” denies going after “Happy.”

Published March 19, 2015

Marvin Gaye's children are ready to “set the record straight” in the battle over “Blurred Lines."

In an open letter, posted in full by Billboard, Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III give background on “Got to Give It Up,” one of Gaye’s “most cherished” hits, and explain how Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams forced them into court (they make no mention of going after T.I. for his verse).

“It has been nearly 38 years since its initial release: tastes change, trends evolve, but we should all be able to agree that it's a testament to the enduring power of 'Got to Give It Up' that we have arrived at this juncture with Mr. Thicke and Mr. Williams, at all,” the letter reads. “The fact that they have openly acknowledged their respect and admiration for the song is public knowledge, and further proof of its resonance with an entirely new generation of music fans.”

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The letter goes on to state that “most songwriting” starts with an “organic approach,” which they feel was not the case with “Blurred Lines.” Gaye’s children point out that Williams and Thicke bypassed opportunities to properly license the 1977 single instead of “deliberately” penning something similar. “Like most artists, they could have licensed and secured the song for appropriate usage; a simple procedure usually arranged in advance of the song's release. This did not happen. We would have welcomed a conversation with them before the release of their work. This also did not happen.”

Williams and Thicke put the legal wheels in motion by filing a pre-emptive suit, the children also note. “They sought to quickly affirm that their song was 'starkly different,' than ‘Got to Give It Up.’ The Judge denied their motion for Summary Judgment, and a jury was charged with determining the 'extrinsic and intrinsic similarities' of the songs. The jury has spoken.”

Lastly, Gaye’s children acknowledge that both artists put their “hearts” into writing “Blurred Lines,” and deny a future suit over Skateboard P’s “Happy” single. "This is 100% false," they state. 

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(Photo: Betty Galella/WireImage) 

Written by Latifah Muhammad

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