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Friday, March 13, 2015

Musicians That Plagiarize Other Musicians' Riffs/ Melodies/ Beats/ Chords

For the past year, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines (god, I hate that song and I hate that video) has been in the news because the estate of Marvin Gaye claimed Thick, Pharrell, and T.I. plagiarized their father's 1977 hit "Got To Give It Up." It probably didn't help that Thicke admitted in an interview that "Got To Give It Up" was his favorite Marvin Gaye song. On Tuesday the court found Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. copied the beat and melody from "Got To Give It Up" and they have to pay the estate $7 million. Of course, Pharrell and Thicke will challenge the ruling so they won't have to pay the money.

I was curious and decided to check the Marvin Gaye song out. I'm only familiar with Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," which is a pretty catchy song. Wow, the comparisons! Let me post "Blurred Lines" and "Got To Give It Up" in full, then the mashup I found.

I believe the Court got it right and I believe the ruling is fair. I don't say it because I despise "Blurred Lines," but they are the same thing! Yes, it sounds a little different... but auto tune works magic. I can see why the Estate of Marvin Gaye (after probably seeing the interview with Thicke mentioning their dad) saw the similarities. What do you think?

This case reminds me of other songs over the year that have copied. I know whenever I hear "Boogie Shoes" by KC and the Sunshine Band, I think of a rap song made in 2001 (I used to listen to it in 5th grade; I remember when I first heard dad's station play "Boogie Shoes" back in 2001, I exclaimed, "That's the beat to 'Take It to Da House'! They copied from KC and the Sunshine Band!"). I remember last week talking to dad about this. He said, "Maybe the copyright for KC and the Sunshine Band ran out and back in 2001 they could use it." I thought maybe, but "Boogie Shoes" is two years older than "Got to Give It Up" and I doubt the copyright expired. I know when I put copyrights on the books I published, they last me for 100 years. Trick Daddy and Slip N Slide Express probably didn't mention anything and a young audience who never listened to KC and the Sunshine Band wouldn't know this song anyway.

I'm sure there are a lot of other songs out there. If you care to share any songs that copy (more than just sample) other songs, please let me know the comments.


  1. Blurred Lines is on my Shuffle because I like the tempo. Honestly, I've never paid attention to the words. I rarely do.

    I hear the similarity, though.

    1. My dad LOVES "Blurred Lines." He thinks it's catchy, but I don't think he pays attention to the lyrics either. Since I am a writer, I have always paid attention to the lyrics of all songs. :p

  2. I like the sound of the music of "Blurred Lines" but not the lyrics; that's why I prefer "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Word Crimes"...same music but better lyrics!

    Leona Lewis' "Collide" sounded extremely similar to Swedish DJ Avicii's song "Penguin". To avoid a lawsuit, Lewis had Avicii added as a featured artist and for him to receive royalties.

    1. I wonder what will happen to "Word Crimes..." I wonder if the Gaye family heard that song.

      That's smart of Leona Lewis! My guess is if Marvin Gaye was still alive, Thicke would have included him. However, my guess is, since Marvin Gaye was murdered by his father in 1984... that's why the family sued. Just for the money.