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After ‘Blurred Lines,’ Gaye Family Hints At ‘Happy’

After ‘Blurred Lines,’ Gaye Family Hints At ‘Happy’
Image from Flickr byPat David


After ‘Blurred Lines,’ Gaye Family Hints At ‘Happy’

Image from Flickr by Pat David

Image from Flickr by Pat David

In the wake of the controversial jury verdict ordering Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay $7.4 million due to alleged copyright infringement of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up,” some individuals are now pointing similarities between William’s 2014 hit “Happy” and Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar.”

Nona Gaye, Marvin’s 40-year-old daughter, agrees, saying she thinks the songs sound alike.

“Blurred Lines” a Rip-off?

On March 10, the jury decided Thicke and Williams, song-writers and performers of the 2013 hit “Blurred Lines,” have committed copyright infringement by lifting elements from Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” without proper credit.

Gaye’s family was awarded $7.4 million of both song profits and damages.

In the wake of the issue, fans are now pointing similarities between William’s “Happy” and Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar.”

“I’m not going to lie. I do think they sound alike,” Nona told ET in an exclusive interview.

“I heard the mash-ups — but I didn’t really need to hear them. I know ‘Aint That Peculiar’ and I’ve heard ‘Happy,’” Janis Gaye, Gaye’s ex-wife, said.

“Ain’t that peculiar,” Marvin Gaye III reacted with jest.

However, the family has said they are not considering to file another complaint for the time being. According to Janis, they are not in “that space” right now, further explaining they are just living in the moment, satisfied with the jury’s verdict on Wednesday.

Asked about her reaction to people saying how being inspired is not stealing, Nona said there is nothing wrong about drawing inspiration.

Williams and Thicke argued they were just inspired by the rhythm and vibes of Gaye’s era in general.

“But the line is when you decide to take the complete and utter essence out of the song. When you take all the meat, and leave the bones,” Nona said.

Janis feels Williams was able to write “Blurred Lines” in haste because “it was already done in 1977.”

Williams had previously said he wrote the song in less than an hour.

“So why would it take you any longer than 20 minutes…,” Janis said, “to redo something that had already been done 40 years earlier?”


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Horrible Precedent

Williams and Thicke released a joint statement through their representatives, saying they respect the judicial process but feel extremely disappointed. The duo said the verdict “sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward.”

Experts in the music industry agree with Williams and Thicke.

Bryan Vaughan, founder of Brooklyn’s independent record label Paper Garden Records, said the verdict has the potential to stifle future creative freedom and expression significantly. The verdict could set a precedent to a new wave of legal complaints of this type, Vaughan told ABC News.

Michael Harrington, chairman of the Music Business Program at the SAE Institute in Nashville, echoed the same opinion. He said there is going to be so many lawsuits coming, highlighting Williams and Thicke were right in saying rhythm and vibes are not subject to copyrights. He hoped Williams and Thicke make an appeal, as the ruling “is just really absurd.”


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Bob Stanley of the pop group Saint Etienne explained the culture of ‘being inspired’ among artists in a detailed blog he wrote for The Guardian. He said he will be flattered if a new band becomes popular by drawing inspiration from their band. He even mentioned the possibility that Marvin Gaye himself might be inspired from legendary music icons of his time.

“Williams and Thicke’s lawyer has said that ‘to be inspired by Marvin Gaye is an honorable thing.’ It’s a terrible shame, and an absolute disaster for music, that Gaye’s family can’t accept that,” Stanley wrote.

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