Robin Thicke Sings|at ‘Blurred Lines’ Trial

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Robin Thicke took to the witness stand Wednesday to deny claims that his platinum single “Blurred Lines” is a copy of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” and treated the jury to a medley of several songs.
     Seated at the witness stand Wednesday, playing an electronic keyboard, Thicke sang a short mix of tunes that included U2’s “With or Without You,” Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” and The Beatles’ “Let it Be.”
     Thicke’s fleeting performance was designed to demonstrate that songs with little in common can be seamlessly stitched together, and to suck the air out of a mash-up of “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give it Up,” played to the court during the first day of the copyright infringement trial.
     Attorneys for Marvin Gaye’s three surviving adult children hoped to use the mash-up to show that “Blurred Lines” is a rip-off of the Motown soul singer’s 1977 track.
     “Blurred Lines,” one of the best-selling singles of all time, has earned its creators and record company Interscope tens of millions of dollars.
     Marvin Gaye’s children say they should be compensated for it.
     Thicke, 37, and his “Blurred Lines” collaborator Pharrell Williams, 41, are defending copyright-infringement claims from Frankie Christian Gaye, Nona Marvisa Gaye and Marvin Gaye III.
     Rapper T.I., who performs on “Blurred Lines,” is also a defendant. He was not in court for the first two days of an estimated eight-day trial.
     Thicke took the stand Wednesday morning to answer questions from the Gayes’ lead attorney Richard S. Busch.
     During his opening argument Tuesday, Busch portrayed Thicke as an untrustworthy celebrity who changed his story about the origins of “Blurred Lines” after the legal claims emerged.
     Thicke cited “Got to Give it Up” as an inspiration in interviews after the single’s release. But in a deposition, Thicke said he overplayed his part in the creation of the song and was drunk and on Vicodin when it was recorded.
     “They will get up on the witness stand and smile and will be charming,” the Gayes’ attorney Busch told the jury of Thicke and Pharrell. But not one of the stars’ “after-the-fact excuses make any sense,” Busch said.
     On Wednesday, Thicke said that most of the creative duties had fallen on Pharrell.
     “I remember bouncing ideas back and forth with him, but we didn’t keep any of mine,” Thicke said of their recording sessions.
     Calling Pharrell “one of the greatest producers and songwriters in history,” Thicke said he’d exaggerated his contribution to stake a claim in the song that helped propel him to fame.
     Pharrell and Thicke sat at opposite ends of counsel’s table. They have barely looked at or spoken to each other in the courtroom.
     But as Thicke lauded his collaborator, Pharrell looked directly at him.
     “It was a little white lie that didn’t hurt his [Pharrell’s] career but boosted mine,” Thicke said. “I started to convince myself it was my idea.”
     A key component of their defense is that they were just replicating the “feel” of the Motown legend’s music, not copying the song.
     “Do you feel it’s wrong to evoke an era?” Thicke’s attorney Howard King asked during cross-examination.
     “Absolutely not,” Thicke replied.
     The full version of “Blurred Lines” was played to the jury. As the music filled the courtroom, Thicke bobbed his head in time to the music.
     “Are you familiar with the tune?” King, who had indulged in a little foot tapping himself, said after the song ended.
     Thicke snickered, then said yes.
     The Gayes also have made a claim for copyright infringement for Thicke’s 2011 song “Love After War,” claiming it borrows from Gaye’s 1976 single, “After the Dance.”
     Thicke described how the song was born after he had argument with his then-wife, actress Paula Patton.
     “I walked to my piano and wrote the song,” Thicke said. He said the song took him about 10 minutes to write and that Patton helped him to refine it.
     After Thicke testified, the Gayes’ attorneys played a video of a testy deposition between Busch and Pharrell.
     In it, Pharrell repeatedly told Busch that he was not “comfortable” with the attorney’s line of questioning, and refused to answer questions about sheet music and musical genres such as Bluegrass.
     Pharrell told the attorney that he was not there to enlighten him about the musical elements of “Blurred Lines.”
     “I’m not here to teach music,” Pharrell said, suggesting that if the attorney had questions he should ask a musicologist sitting in the room with them.
     Earlier Wednesday, Nona and Frankie Gaye’s mother Janis Gaye took the stand to talk about the making of “Got to Give it up” and the family’s decision to pursue their copyright claims.
     The second day of trial concluded with testimony from musicologist Judith Finell.
     U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt is presiding.
     Testimony will resume Thursday.

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