LOS ANGELES — Everybody wait up.
In case you thought Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were calling in the armored trucks to settle up the $7.4 million in damages a jury awarded to the family of Marvin Gaye in the “Blurred Lines” case, well … what rhymes with “hug me?”
Howard King, the lawyer who represented Thicke and Williams, is not only making it abundantly clear that he’s appealing the federal jury’s verdict, but he’s also calling hypocrisy — pointing out that Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” was openly and admittedly inspired by another song.
That echoes a pillar of the Gaye family’s case, which leaned on the fact that the “Blurred Lines” songwriting duo said in several press interviews that “Got to Give It Up” inspired them. In a guest column published Thursday in The Hollywood Reporter, King opened by saying:
My clients and I are understandably disappointed in the jury’s verdict, especially given their absolute conviction that “Blurred Lines” came from the hearts and souls of Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and T.I., and no other place. Should the verdict be allowed to stand, a terrible precedent will have been established … No longer will it be safe to create music in the same style or genre of a prior song.
Then King excerpts David Ritz biography Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye:
In the lyric, Marvin turned the tune’s focus from himself to the image of a dancing woman, urging her to keep on moving, to shout, to get down, to get “funky.” Earlier in 1976, Johnnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady” was a huge hit, considerably influencing Gaye. “I love the way Johnnie sings, and I thought it was a fabulous song,” Gaye said. “As good as disco ever got. I appreciated the picture of the super-sexy woman on the dance floor, though in my version, I tried to give it a little twist.’”
So here they are, in descending order of “influence”:
(Funny this didn’t come up before, since that fact has been right there in the “Got to Give It Up” Wikipedia entry all this time.)
King also said his clients made a “substantial offer to compensate the Gaye children to avoid any confrontation” after the family confronted them over “Blurred Lines,” and felt the jury got it all wrong, noting that the comparison “reveals that there isn’t one note in the melody that’s the same, there isn’t one chord in the entire song that’s the same, and there are no more than three notes in the bass lines, out of twenty six notes, that are the same.”
But you can’t appeal a verdict just because you don’t like it — you’ve got to have some legal justification for cranking up the courts anew. And to that end, King injected a bit of a twist of his own, writing that the jury’s exoneration of co-writer T.I. and the music labels is “an inconsistency that is likely to affect the post-trial motions.”
And he seems pretty confident that the “Blurred Lines” matter will live on:
While the Gayes are to be congratulated on obtaining a jury verdict, this matter is not finished by any stretch of the imagination.
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