Ed Sheeran spent another day in court attempting to convince non-musicians that “Thinking Out Loud” didn’t rip off Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” On Monday, the singer whipped out his guitar once again, this time running through four acoustic song mashups between his song and ones from Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Blackstreet, and Van Morrison to try to prove a point against musicologist Alexander Stewart’s claims about his melodies and intentions.
According to the Daily Beast, Sheeran said that while creating “Thinking Out Loud,” the song’s producers referred to it as “the Van Morrison tune.” He added: “My voice can sound like his.”
Under questioning from his attorney Ilene S. Farkas, Sheeran played one song from each of the aforementioned artists then transitioned into his own. After four rounds of that, he claimed that he didn’t copy a single thing from Gaye’s 1973 hit, nor was it present in his mind at the time that “Thinking Out Loud” was created.
Sheeran included Van Morrison in the song combinations he played for the court to ostensibly show how easily one can bleed into another song based on the simplicity of foundational chords. He attempted to clarify this same commonality last week when he pulled out his guitar to play both the major chord he uses in “every single gig” against the minor chord Stewart — who was hired by the Gaye estate as an expert witness — claimed shows overlap between “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On.”
Sheeran’s testimony comes six years after the heirs of “Let’s Get It On” co-writer Ed Townsend sued Sheeran, alleging that “Thinking Out Loud” had “striking similarities” that violate Townsend’s copyright.
According to The New York Times, Sheeran responded to Stewart’s testimony with a straightforward questioning of what his qualifications are to make such bold declarations. “I think what he is doing is criminal,” he said. “I don’t know why he’s allowed to be an expert.”
He added: “To have someone come in and say, ‘We don’t believe you, you must have stolen it.’ I find that really insulting.”
Sheeran took further issue with the terminology being used to describe the chords in his song to a court that didn’t appear to understand music theory. While under cross-examination by Patrick Ryan Frank, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, Sheeran said, “Me, personally, I know what I’m playing on guitar.”