News July 2, 2018

Ed Sheeran sued for a second time over Marvin Gaye song

Staff Writer
Ed Sheeran sued for a second time over Marvin Gaye song

Ed Sheeran is being sued for a second time with claims that he copied parts of Marvin Gaye‘s 1973 song Let’s Get It On for his chart-topping smash Thinking Out Loud.

The first time was in August 2016 when the family of US singer Ed Townsend – who co-wrote the song with Gaye and died in 2003 – made the claim.

But the suit was voluntarily withdrawn, with the court later finding there was no evidence of plagiarising.

This time in a US$100 million claim in New York, a US company called Structured Asset Sales says it bought one-third of the copyright of Gaye’s song.

Legal documents allege “the melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation and looping” were stolen.

Sheeran has always insisted it was totally original, and Gaye was not an inspiration.

The story goes that Thinking Out Loud came together after

Amy Wadge, an English singer-songwriter based in Wales, dropped by his house for a visit in February 2014.

They met when he was 17 and had written songs together.

Sheeran independently released five of these on an EP Songs I Wrote With Amy in 2010.

Another one, Gold Rush is on the deluxe version of his first album +.

On this occasion, while Sheeran was in the shower, Wadge played a few chords on the guitar.

It caught Sheeran’s ear, and that night after dinner they developed the song in his kitchen and finished it off in 20 minutes.

Sheeran wanted to capture the vibe of Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, whom he had idolised since childhood.

The lyrics about a relationship at its happiest period was inspired by his girlfriend at the time, Athina Andrelos, whom he’d just met.

By this stage, the second Sheeran album had already been finished, but he recorded it the next day as a last minute inclusion.

Wadge is included in the lawsuit, as is Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Atlantic Records.

Structured Asset Sales is owned by New York investment banker and lawyer David Pullman who in 1997 introduced the concept of selling bonds backed by future royalties from an artist’s catalogue.

They were called Pullman Bonds, as well as Bowie Bonds, after his first client, David Bowie, who sold $55 million worth of bonds.

Others taking up on the offer were James Brown, the Motown songwriting and production team Holland Dozier Holland, Asford & Simpson and the Isley Brothers.

Last year Sheeran settled a 2016 lawsuit over Photograph initiated by songwriters Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington who sued for $20 million alleging it took from their song Amazing.

In January this year songwriters Sean Carey and Beau Golden also filed suit, that The Rest of Our Life (which Ed wrote for country singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw) took its melody from When I Found You sung by Australian artist Jasmine Rae.

In responding, Sheeran insisted in court documents that there was no similarity between the songs.

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