Producer was working on two other sessions when he wrote the Robin Thicke hit, and it was the influence of his work with Miley Cyrus that fed into the global hit
Proud of yourself for getting two things done in a day? Reckon cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen on a Saturday morning counts as hard work? You should try being Pharrell Williams for a day.
Testifying in the case in which Marvin Gaye’s children Frankie and Nona are claiming Blurred Lines, the hit Williams wrote for Robin Thicke, infringes the copyright of Gaye’s 1977 hit Got To Give It Up, Williams revealed that Blurred Lines was one of three simultaneous jobs he was working on the day he came up with the song.
“I had Earl Sweatshirt in one room and Miley Cyrus in the other,” he told the court. “I was doing a bunch of country-sounding music with Miley.” It was the work on Cyrus’s music, he said, that spawned Blurred Lines, because he had country styles on his mind. “It was like blending this country sound with this this up-tempo groove.”
It took him an hour to come up with the instrumental track, which he sent to his engineer Andrew Coleman. Thicke arrived in the evening to record the vocals.
Williams said Got To Give It Up had never entered his head while writing the song, and was a comparison he only made later, during promotional interviews. He accepted there was a similar feeling between the tracks, saying, “I must have been channelling that feeling, that late 70s feeling. Sometimes when you look back on your past work, you see echoes of people. But that doesn’t mean that’s what you were doing.”
He offered a single phrase to define whether he felt he had copied Got To Give It Up: “Feel; not infringement.”
Williams also paid tribute to Gaye. “He’s one of the ones we look up to so much,” he said. “This is the last place I want to be right now. The last thing you want to do as a creator is take something of someone else’s when you love him.”
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