(BBC News) “A jury in the United States has ruled that the writers of “Blurred Lines” – one of the best-selling singles of all time – copied a Marvin Gaye track. Jurors in Los Angeles decided that the 2013 single by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke breached the copyright of Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got To Give It Up”. The family of the late soul singer has been awarded $7.3m (£4.8m) in damages.”

I can’t say I knew either track but they are on Youtube so I had a listen. Marvin Gaye’s is classic mid-70s funk and the bass lines on the two tracks are pretty well the same, but once you decide to play funky stuff with a handful of chords, how many bass lines are there? I wonder if we will actually reach the point in the world of three chord 4/4 pop where every permutation has been used and plagiarism is the only option left?

Incidentally the video for “Blurred Lines” is so subtle – talk about leaving nothing open to interpretation …


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

4 thoughts on “Originality

  1. One of the most copied beats must be the Bo Diddley beat ( Not Fade Away ) Buddy Holly,(Mystic Eyes) Them, (Magic Bus) The Who just to name a few. Never heard Bo complaining.

  2. Personally I think the courts decision was brilliant!
    It might force the new up and coming performers and writers to find something new,original and exciting instead of this bland overproduced rubbish as performed by Messrs Thicke and Williams

  3. Yep and overproduced is a key word here. If you watch the two videos Gaye is performing live while the recent one is like Hollywood soft-porn and I bet it cost millions. I think that most great pop came from acts who played live a lot and developed key skills and styles in doing so. I’m may be a sad old bugger but I’ll always believe there’s no substitute to playing live.

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