Ed Sheeran testifies in Thinking Out Loud copyright trial
Ed Sheeran denied copying Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On with his track Thinking Out Loud as he testified in a New York court on Tuesday.
The Shape of You singer took to the witness stand in Manhattan Federal Court on Tuesday as part of the trial over his 2014 ballad.
The heirs of Ed Townsend, who wrote Let’s Get It On with Gaye, sued the singer for allegedly breaching copyright law, claiming that Sheeran used parts of the 1973 song while writing Thinking Out Loud.
“If I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be an idiot to stand on stage in front of 20,000 people,” Sheeran told the court, via People. “It is my belief that most pop songs are built on building blocks that have been freely available for 100s of years.”
While he’d heard Let’s Get It On in an Austin Powers movie when he was younger, Sheeran insisted that Thinking Out Loud was not based on the 1973 track – but instead on a conversation that he and Thinking Out Loud co-writer Amy Wadge had about Sheeran’s grandparents.
He also noted that he and Wadge no longer talk about the song, lamenting, “To be honest, all this stuff has put me off.”
Sheeran also explained that he often mashes up popular songs during his concerts because many of them share similar chord progressions.
The 32-year-old told Townsend’s legal team at one point, “I feel like you don’t want me to answer because what I’m going to say is going to make quite a lot of sense.”
Townsend’s daughter, Kathryn Griffin Townsend, testified earlier that day and insisted she wasn’t a “copyright troll” and was simply trying “to protect my father’s legacy”.
The British singer will be called back to take the stand again later in the trial.