Ed Sheeran was back on the stand in a Manhattan court, where he faced tough questioning over allegations that his hit song “Thinking Out Loud” plagiarized Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” The British singer-songwriter expressed his frustration and exhaustion over the case, saying that if the plaintiffs win ownership of the chord progression in his song, he’s “done.”
“If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,” he told his lawyer Ilene Farkas while under oath. “I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it. You’re trying to diminish my success. ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was my first Grammy.”
The toll of the copyright infringement lawsuit was clear on Sheeran as he sang and strummed his guitar for the jury. His lawyer grilled him on the writing of “Thinking Out Loud,” but Sheeran denied copying anything from Gaye’s 1973 R&B classic. He even clapped back at the plaintiffs’ musicologist, calling his testimony “criminal.”
Amy Wadge, who co-wrote “Thinking Out Loud” with Sheeran, testified that the tune sounded more like Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately.” She said that Gaye never entered her thoughts during the songwriting process.
Under cross-examination, Sheeran grew irritated when he was grilled about his past collaborations with other artists and how he plays his music. Despite the intense scrutiny, Sheeran remained steadfast in his defense.
Before taking the stand, Sheeran embraced Kathryn Townsend Griffin, the daughter of the late Ed Townsend, co-writer of “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye. The two shared a handshake and lengthy hug before exchanging a few words following Townsend Griffin’s return to the courtroom after she suddenly collapsed during proceedings last week.
The outcome of the trial remains uncertain, but for Sheeran, the stakes are high. If found liable for plagiarism, the consequences could be devastating for his career. For now, he can only wait for the verdict and hope that justice will be served.