Was Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines,” produced by Pharrell Williams, a rip-off of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up”? That’s what an eight-member jury decided Tuesday, awarding Gaye’s family nearly $7.4 million.
In a piece last week, Times pop music critic Randall Roberts argued that the case was “about cash, not artistic theft” and he warned that such an outcome could have a chilling effect on creativity. And as our graphics department showed, the songs may sound similar but are structurally different.
Earlier this year, Sam Smith also found himself in a copyright dispute when similarities between his song “Stay With Me” and Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” were discovered. But the parties took another route and worked it out amicably.
These are far from the only cases of sound-alike songs. Inspiration or something more? Take a listen.
The Rolling Stones’ “Anybody Seen My Baby” vs. k.d. lang’ “Constant Craving”
Stevie Wonder’s "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" vs. Oasis’ “Step Out”
George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” vs. the Chiffons’s “He´s So Fine”
An instrumental 1965 cover of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" vs. The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony”
Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier