To Prove Their Case, Marvin Gaye’s Family Submits ‘Blurred Lines/Got To Give It Up’ Mashup
The battle between Marvin Gaye’s family and Robin Thicke isn’t over. Although in January the family settled a part of their lawsuit with Sony/ATV over the similarities between Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” the lawsuit, which also names producer Pharrell Williams and T.I., was far from over. And it just got even more interesting.
Gaye’s children added a new twist to their evidence. They delivered a “Blurred Lines/Got to Give It Up” mashup to a California federal judge. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nona Gaye, Frankie Gaye and Marvin Gaye III have now filed their summary judgment papers, directing the judge to recorded depositions and media interviews given by producer Pharrell and singer Thicke. Additionally, they submitted an audio mashup to serve as “concrete musical illustrations of the substantial similarities” between the two songs.
This could be “quite possibly the first time ever in a courtroom that a mash-up has been exploited to prove copyright infringement,” reports THR.
In the mashup, the vocals of “Blurred Lines” plays over the instrumental of “Got to Give It Up,” and then vice versa. “This material sounds like a perfect, natural match because it blends sonically,” says the summary judgment memorandum.
The Gayes also presented two expert musicologists describing eight substantial similarities: “(1) the signature phrase in the main vocal melodies; (2) the hooks; (3) the hooks with backup vocals; (4) the core theme in ‘Blurred Lines’ and backup hook in ‘Got to Give it Up’; (5) the backup hooks; (6) the bass melodies; (7) the keyboard parts; and (8) the unusual percussion choices,” reports Black America Web.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, in a preemptive strike, the plaintiffs instead described these as “unprotectable, commonplace ideas,” but the counterclaimants retort they are distinctive. Take the bass melodies, for instance. Both songs are said by the musicologists to have “two-measure phrases, which leave space in the middle of each of the bars, rhythms, and points of harmonic arrival. This is not simply an element of a genre, as it is unusual to have bass lines in R&B that leave this much space in the middle of the bar.”
A jury trial is not scheduled until Feb. 10, 2015.
Take a listen. What do you think?