Ed Sheeran is currently being sued for $100 million by a company who have alleged he ripped off a Marvin Gaye song.
Structured Asset Sales is the company filing the lawsuit and are claiming Ed’s song, Thinking Out Loud, is a plagiarism of Gaye’s Let’s Get it On.
Thinking Out Loud was well received upon its release, and back in 2016 the song earned Ed Grammy nominations for Best Record and Best Performance and received the award for Song of the Year.
A video of Sheeran performing Thinking Out Loud has been watched over 2.3 billion times on YouTube.
However, according to TMZ, Structured Asset Sales has alleged the song has the same identical melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bassline, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation and looping as Let’s Get it On.
Let’s Get it On was penned by Gaye and Edward Townsend back in 1973. Gaye died in 1984 at the age of 44.
It proved to be one of Gaye’s most successful singles, and remains a favourite among music fans today.
Music critic Jon Landau praised the melody as well as Gaye’s vocal abilities in Rolling Stone:
Let’s Get It On is a classic Motown single, endlessly repeatable and always enjoyable. It begins with three great wah-wah notes that herald the arrival of a vintage Fifties melody.
But while the song centers around classically simple chord changes, the arrangement centers around a slightly eccentric rhythm pattern that deepens the song’s power while covering it with a contemporary veneer.
Above all, it has Marvin Gaye’s best singing at its center, fine background voices on the side, and a long, moody fade-out that challenges you not to play the cut again
— Bill Donahue (@Bill__Donahue) June 28, 2018
Following Townsend’s death in 2003, Structured Asset Sales purchased one third of the iconic track’s copyright.
In 2016, Townsend’s family reportedly unsuccessfully attempted to sue Sheeran for implementing ‘elements’ of Townsend’s song. A federal judge reportedly dismissed the complaint.
I can't believe it took this long for them to sue him. It's obvious the first time you hear the song
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) June 28, 2018
There are only so many chords, progressions, and drum beats to go around… Ed Sheeran is being sued for ripping off Marvin Gaye, thoughts?
— Robert Venable (@RobertVenable) June 28, 2018
Sheeran has found himself in similar situations before. In 2017, it was noted his mega hit Shape of You bore striking comparisons to TLC’s 1999 hit No Scrubs. As a result, songwriting credits were given to Kandi Burruss and Tiny Harris.
The same year, Sheeran was sued by Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard; songwriters of track called Amazing which had been penned for X Factor contestant Matt Cardle.
The songwriters alleged Sheeran had copied the song ‘note for note’ for his 2014 monster hit Photograph .
The $20 million lawsuit was dismissed after the two involved parties decided to make a settlement outside of court for an undisclosed sum.
Sheeran co-wrote Thinking Out Loud with songwriter Amy Wadge, who wrote the song in a reported 20 minutes on a guitar which had been borrowed from Harry Styles.
Speaking with Wales Online, Wadge said:
His album was finished and I was just going to his house to have some chilling out time with my mate – it wasn’t ever supposed to be a song-writing session,
But when Ed went for a shower, I picked up a guitar which Harry Styles had bought him and I played two lines. Ed came running downstairs and said, ‘What’s that? We have to do something with that.’
We went for dinner with his mum and dad and then came back and wrote the song, which Ed recorded on his phone straight away. He kept saying, ‘It should be on the album.’
Do you think the two tracks sound similar?
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.