Robin Thicke on ‘Blurred Lines’: ‘I was high on Vicodin and alcohol’

Robin Thicke
“I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio” to record “Blurred Lines” and had little to with writing the song, Robin Thicke testified in a deposition. Above, the singer onstage in Las Vegas in May.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision)

Robin Thicke claims he was a little blurry himself during the recording of the hit single “Blurred Lines,” according to a new deposition from the singer.

Thicke’s comments surfaced Monday as part of a lawsuit between the writers of the summer-dominating 2013 single (which also featured Pharrell Williams and T.I.) and the estate of Marvin Gaye, whose 1977 song “Got To Give It Up” bears more than a passing resemblance to “Blurred Lines” and was an acknowledged inspiration for it.

According to Thicke’s deposition (first given in April and excerpted in a federal court filing Monday after a judge ruled that it should be unsealed), Thicke was intoxicated at the time of the recording, and admitted he actually had very little to do with the song besides performing its lead vocal.  

“To be honest, that’s the only part where — I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio,” Thicke said. “So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was and I — because I didn’t want him — I wanted some credit for this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song.”


Thicke estimated that Williams had written about 75% of the song when he walked into the room.

The singer had previously told GQ that the songwriting was much more of a collaborative effort, and Thicke was given a co-writer credit that awarded him around 20% of publishing royalties. It’s not certain whether Thicke’s latest statements constitute an attempt to distance himself as part of the Gaye estate lawsuit, or simply admitting the true story about the song’s authorship. Thicke also claimed to have been drunk during almost all his media appearances to promote the song.

“Every day I woke up, I would take a Vicodin to start the day and then I would fill up a water bottle with vodka and drink it before and during my interviews,” he said. The singer said that at the time of the deposition that he had been off Vicodin for two months.

“This is water, by the way,” he told the attorneys.


Despite the massive success of “Blurred Lines,” Thicke faced a backlash over the song’s aggressive sexual undertones. His follow-up album “Paula,” a transparent public attempt to reconcile with his estranged wife, was one of the year’s biggest commercial flops. 

Howard King, Thicke’s attorney, said in a statement that “Robin’s moment of personal vulnerability is being exploited in the hope of diverting attention from the obvious weakness of their legal claim.” Lawyers for the Gaye estate declined to speak on the record.

In his own deposition, Williams corroborated Thicke’s account that the song was all but completed by the time Thicke performed his vocal. Williams said he let Thicke take more public credit because it would be good for sales.

“This is what happens every day in our industry,” he said. “You know, people are made to look like they have much more authorship in the situation than they actually do. So that’s where the embellishment comes in." 

Williams’ testimony got especially heated during a moment when the Gaye estate’s attorneys asked him to sight-read sheet music, to which Williams repeatedly responded that he wasn’t comfortable doing so. And regarding his opinion of Gaye? 

“He’s an Aries. I respect him,” Williams said.

Times staff writer Victoria Kim contributed to this report.

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