Pharrell & Robin Thick Ordered To Pay $7.3 Million To Marvin Gaye's Estate Due To "Blurred Lines"
"I have the utmost respect, the most, utmost respect for Marvin Gaye and his music and he is one of the patriarchs," Pharrell says in the interview. "He is one of the best. But here's the thing—you can't trademark a groove. If I play a song—which a lot of my new hip-hop, rap records are—that's done in 6/8 time signature, Charlie Parker's family is not going to sue me for that. Do you understand what I'm saying? If I do a salsa beat right now, I know that Ricky Martin's family is not going to come looking for me.
"That's what we're dealing with," Pharrell continues. "We're dealing with the idea that someone feels like a groove is proprietary, and it's not. Music is, and the notes are, and when you look at the sheet music, then you'd know. And just for a bit of humor, the percussion that I use on 'Blurred Lines,' aside from the music notation being completely different, completely different—the sheet music is available online, by the way—but the percussion, I was trying to pretend that I was Marvin Gaye, and what he would do had he went down to Nashville and did a record with pentatonic harmonies, and more of a bluegrass chord structure. So unfortunately there's no comparison between the minor, bluesy chords he was playing and my major, bluegrass-y chords, and that's very plain to see for anyone who can read music."
In 2013, "Blurred Lines" was at the center of legal discussions between Pharrell, Robin Thicke and Marvin Gaye's family. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of "Blurred Lines" makers in a California federal court in August. “Plaintiffs, who have the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies, reluctantly file this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors in interest to those artists," the lawsuit states. "Defendants continue to insist that plaintiffs' massively successful composition, 'Blurred Lines,' copies 'their' compositions."