Ed Sheeran, on guitar, gets musical with a New York jury

Streaming HUBApril 28, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) – In a packed New York courtroom, Ed Sheeran picked up his guitar Thursday and began a tune that has locked him in a copyright dispute over Marvin Gaye’s soul classic “Let’s Get It On,” because The only audience that mattered – a jury – watched.

An hour into Sheeran’s testimony in Manhattan federal court, his attorney, Ilene Farkas, pressed him to explain how he came to write “Thinking Out Loud” a decade earlier.

He reached back, grabbed his guitar from a rack behind the witness stand, and explained that songwriting was second nature to him. He said that he used his own version of phonetics to create songs so quickly that he could write up to nine in a day. Sheeran claimed to have written 10 songs in the last weekend as well.

He then asked Judge Louis L. Some of the spectators in Stanton’s court sang a few words of the main tune, bringing smiles to their faces.

“I’m singing loud,” he sang, loud enough to be heard but not raising the decibels on the court.

After he finished singing those words, he spoke about anything, saying “and then the words just fall out” when he tried to teach the jury his method of making music. He added that he collaborated on the song with Amy Wadge, a co-writer who wrote the opening chords.

Although he has performed with some of the world’s greatest artists and by the age of 32 had become a regular at music award shows, he bowed his chair to the jury from the witness stand: “I am the most talented guitar player in the world. I am not.”

And when he hit his hand against the witness stand microphone, he immediately muttered “sorry”.

He then launches into the song that Ed Townsend’s successor, Gaye’s co-writer “Let’s Get It On,” says bears “striking similarities” and “over common elements” to the famous 1973 Gaye Music Treasures.

“When your legs don’t work like they used to,” he sang solemnly, looking as deep as he could into the song. Then, after just a few bars, he abruptly put the guitar in the rack behind him as his lawyer told the judge it was the appropriate place to adjourn for the week.

Two days earlier, he had been called to testify by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and was adamant in telling the jurors that he and Wadge came up with the song without copying someone else’s music.

He also said a video that showed him arguing onstage between “Thinking Out Loud” and “Let’s Get It On” was not unusual, adding that it was “simple enough to weave in and out of songs”. which were in the same key.

On Thursday, in friendly questions from his lawyer, Sheeran revealed how he became interested in music after joining a church choir with his mother when he was 4 years old.

Sheeran sounded soulless when recounting his story: “I can’t read music. I am not classically trained in anything.

He said he dropped out of school at 17 so he could perform three times a night, playing anywhere, from bingo halls to restaurants “to anywhere there was no one.”

Within a decade, he was performing with some of the biggest names in music, from Taylor Swift to the Rolling Stones, 50 Cent to Eric Clapton.

Soon, he said, he was writing eight or nine songs a day, explaining: “When inspiration strikes, you get excited and it comes out.”

Near the end of his testimony, Sheeran was asked by his lawyer why an expert called by the plaintiffs had tried to show that the chords in “Thinking Out Loud” were similar to those in “Let’s Get It On”.

“He was saying that because it helps his argument,” Sheeran said.

The trial resumes on Monday.

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