The big music industry news from Los Angeles is that a jury has awarded the children of Marvin Gaye $7.4 million because last year’s hit “Blurred Lines” Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke contained significant elements of his 1977 song, which is ironically titled “Got to Give it Up.”
The song is one of our favorite Marvin Gaye jams — it was the side long studio track at the end of Live at the London Palladium, and one of those tunes you forget is in your collection. Maybe that’s what they were counting on when they borrowed it to create the beat which drives “Blurred Lines.”
According to Forbes, Gaye earned $3.5 million last year, making him one of the highest-paid dead celebrities, which makes sense considering he was not only one of the greatest soul singers of all time but also a prolific songwriter with extraordinary insight. Still, we assume his three children and three grandchildren would rather have him here today than another giant pile of money. The thirty-first anniversary of Gaye’s tragic murder is just about three weeks away.
Anyway, we’re also big fans of Pharrell’s album, Girl, though we could give or take that talentless paragon of Hollywood nepotism, Robin Thicke. Attorneys for the two have suggested the ruling will have a “chilling effect” on artists who wish to recreate an artist’s sound.
Here are both videos. What do you think? It seems to us the infringement on the original composition is far greater than in the recent Tom Petty/Sam Smith case, for instance. Will it have a chilling effect, or are there ways to create original music in familiar forms?