Ed Sheeran said Monday he would quit music if found guilty of copying the Marvin Gaye classic “Let’s Get It On,” saying the allegations were “disgraceful.”
The 32-year-old British singer-songwriter has vehemently denied allegations that Gaye and his writing partner Ed Townsend were infringed upon by him while he was writing and composing “Thinking Out Loud.”
‘If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,’ Sheeran said when asked by his attorney Ilene Farkas about the toll the trial is taking on him.
‘I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it,’ the ‘Shape of You’ singer added.
Sheeran is being sued by Townsend’s heirs who claim there are “striking similarities” between the tracks. They’re asking for $100 million in damages.
In federal court in Manhattan last week, attorneys for the Townsend estate showed a video of Sheeran alternating between “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” during a live performance.
They said this was tantamount to admitting that he stole the song.
But on Monday, Sheeran told the court that he and other artists frequently perform “mashups” and that on other occasions he has paired “Thinking Out Loud” with Van Morrison’s “Crazy in Love” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”
‘I mash up songs at lots of gigs. Many songs have similar chords. You can go from “Let It Be” to “No Woman No Cry” and switch back,’ he said.
‘And quite frankly, if I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that,’ he added.
To prove his point, the singer played a four-chord sequence he’s said to have taken from “Let’s Get It On” as part of his renditions of Morrison songs, including “Tupelo Honey” and “Crazy Love.”
The singer also criticized the plaintiff’s expert witness, musicologist Alexander Stewart, who argued last week that the first 24 seconds of “Thinking Out Loud” resembled the beginning of “Let’s Get It On.”
They have “the same harmonic beat,” Stewart said in court, noting the melodic similarities in the verse, chorus, and interlude.
A computer-generated version of Let’s Get it On was played in the courtroom during Stewart’s testimony, which got all the action on Wednesday.
Insider reported that laughter erupted in the courtroom as the computer-generated version of Let’s Get it On played to highlight the similarities between the tracks.
But Sheeran said Stewart changed versions of the song to make the chords and melody sound more like Gaye’s song.
Sheeran later turned hostile after being questioned by Patrick Frank, the heirs’ attorney, and dismissing discrepancies between his reports and his writing partner Amy Wedge about when and how Thinking Aloud was written in February 2014.