Ed Sheeran vs. Marvin Gaye: The Lawsuit Explained

Ed Sheeran, Marvin Gaye lawsuit
Ed Sheeran | Shutterstock

Ed Sheeran Faces Lawsuit: Did He Copy Marvin Gaye? A Comprehensive Analysis

The Controversial Allegations

Ed Sheeran, the wildly popular singer-songwriter, has recently been slapped with a lawsuit claiming that he copied one of Marvin Gaye’s classic songs. The lawsuit, filed by the estate of the late music legend, alleges that Sheeran’s hit “Thinking Out Loud” bears striking similarities to Gaye’s timeless ballad “Let’s Get It On.” So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of this melodious battle and see if there’s any truth behind these controversial allegations.


Comparing the Two Songs: A Deeper Look

To better understand the alleged similarities between the two tracks, we’ve broken down the key components of each song and compared them side-by-side. Are there any undeniable resemblances or is this just another frivolous lawsuit?


Melodic Similarities

  • “Thinking Out Loud”: A slow, romantic ballad with a catchy melody
  • “Let’s Get It On”: A sensual, soulful tune with a memorable melody

While both songs share a certain smoothness, we must admit that their melodies are not identical. So the question remains: Are they similar enough to warrant a lawsuit?

Lyrical Content

  • “Thinking Out Loud”: A heartfelt expression of everlasting love, with lyrics like “Take me into your loving arms.”
  • “Let’s Get It On”: A sultry invitation to physical intimacy, featuring lines like “Let’s get it on, sugar.”

At first glance, the lyrical content of the two songs appears quite distinct, with “Thinking Out Loud” focusing on emotional love and “Let’s Get It On” centering on physical passion.

Chord Progression

  • “Thinking Out Loud”: A simple yet effective chord progression of D-G-A-Bm
  • “Let’s Get It On”: A similarly uncomplicated progression of E-A-B-C#m

The chord progressions in both songs are undoubtedly basic, but that alone doesn’t prove that Sheeran copied Gaye’s masterpiece.

Rhythmic Patterns

  • “Thinking Out Loud”: A laid-back tempo with a gentle, rhythmic pattern that sways listeners
  • “Let’s Get It On”: A slightly faster tempo accompanied by a groovy, syncopated rhythm

The rhythmic patterns of the two songs are distinct, further muddying the waters in this musical dispute.

The Verdict: Creative Inspiration or Blatant Plagiarism?

From our in-depth analysis, it’s difficult to conclude that Ed Sheeran copied Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” when creating “Thinking Out Loud.” While the two songs may have some minor similarities, they exhibit many differences in melody, lyrics, chord progression, and rhythm.

So, is this lawsuit just another opportunistic attempt to cash in on a thriving artist’s work or a genuine case of copyright infringement? Only time (and the courts) will tell.

Final Thoughts: Lessons to Be Learned

Regardless of the outcome of this legal battle, all artists must be aware of the thin line between drawing inspiration from past works and outright plagiarism. 

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