Ed Sheeran Sings, Plays Guitar in Court

Singer denies ripping off Marvin Gaye song
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2023 6:10 AM CDT

If any Ed Sheeran fans survived the jury selection process for the singer's copyright trial in Manhattan federal court, they had a treat on Thursday: The English singer played guitar and sang parts of his hit "Thinking Out Loud," which the heirs of Marvin Gaye's co-writer Ed Townsend say stole parts of "Let's Get It On." Sheeran, testifying in his own defense, described the process of writing the song in 2014, Variety reports. He said it was a quick process that started when co-writer Amy Wadge visited his home and he heard her strumming chords. He said that the song's title evolved from his earlier lyric "I'm singing out now."

"When I write vocal melodies, it’s like phonetics," Sheeran said before playing the opening chord progression and singing the first line, "When your legs don't work like they used to," per the Guardian. Sheeran explained that the song had been inspired by his grandparents love for each other, his grandfather's recent death, and a new relationship he had started, the BBC reports. Sheeran's testimony will continue when the trial resumes on Monday. Earlier this week, US District Judge Louis Stanton told the jury, "We don't allow dancing" before a video of Sheeran playing a medley of both songs.

Lawyers for the heirs called the medley video a "confession," but Sheeran argued that many songs use the same chords and he often performs "mash-ups" at his concerts. "You could go from 'Let It Be' to 'No Woman, No Cry' and switch back," Sheeran testified. "If I had done what you're accusing me of doing, I'd be quite an idiot to stand on a stage in front of 20,000 people and do that." Before Sheeran's Thursday testimony, his defense played a video of Australian comedy band Axis of Awesome performing a medley of dozens of songs with the same four chords. (More Ed Sheeran stories.)

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