Ed Sheeran is opening up after defeating a copyright infringement lawsuit that alleged he copied the Marvin Gaye song “Let’s Get It On” when he wrote his Grammy-winning hit “Thinking Out Loud.”
In an interview with “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, the singer said it was “101 songs with the same chord sequence” that helped the jury decide in his favor.
“And that was just, like, scratching the surface,” he added. “It was very quick to see that and be like, ‘Oh, yeah.'”
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The lawsuit was brought by the family of the late “Let’s Get It On” co-writer Ed Townsend. The suit claimed that Sheeran took the rhythm, chord progression and other elements for his 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud” from the 1973 soul classic without permission.
Sheeran denied the allegations. At one point during the trial, the singer performed a mash-up of his songs and Gaye’s during his testimony in court in order to demonstrate how common the four-chord progression was for his hit and others.
“I’d been wanting to do it for ages since it came out, but you have to do due diligence in court,” Sheeran said about his in-court performance. “So I just waited and knew that I would have my day to explain it and didn’t rush anything.”
A Manhattan jury reached its decision in the case on Thursday, siding with Sheeran after three hours of deliberation.
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After winning the lawsuit, Sheeran told reporters outside Manhattan federal court on Thursday that the songs have “dramatically different lyrics, melodies and four chords, which are also different and used by songwriters every day, all over the world.”
“These chords are common building blocks which were used to create music long before ‘Let’s Get It On’ was written and will be used to make music long after we are all gone,” Sheeran said. “They are in a songwriter’s ‘alphabet,’ our toolkit, and should be there for all of us to use. No one owns them or the way they are played, in the same way that nobody owns the color blue.”
Sheeran also opened up about his new album, “-,” pronounced “Subtract,” out now.
“I’m pleased with how it’s being received,” he said of the reception. “It’s different territory for me. I usually go in with big pop singles … where this very much just exists as an album. It’s just something I’m super proud of and it will just exist in my discography forever.”
The making of Sheeran’s latest album is featured in the new four-part documentary series “Ed Sheeran: The Sum Of It All,” streaming now on Disney+, and it dives into what inspired the musician to create some of the songs — notably his wife’s medical scare and the death of one of his best friends.
“I didn’t actually know that was what we were making,” he said. “I was sort of filming a documentary on my album being made and the music videos being done and the gigs around it.”
“Basically the people that were making the documentary were like, ‘We don’t want to make some polished promo press package, so we’re going to film everything and just trust us that we’ll do something that’s respectful to you.’ And they made this documentary on grief, basically,” he added. “I think it’s really beautiful.”
Sheeran is also on tour, and he said he’s “honored and surprised” to feel love from American fans when he tours in the U.S.
“America is such a fast-moving country and you guys have such good American music here that I’m always surprised that you still want to listen to the British guy,” he joked.