Robin Thicke has admitted in sworn testimony that he did not write his controversial 2013 mega-hit “Blurred Lines” because, when the song was recorded, he was too blitzed on booze and pills. The song when on to top sales charts in 15 countries.
However, he took a co-writing credit with the song’s true author, Pharrell Williams, because he “was jealous and wanted some credit for this big hit.” Thicke’s comments were found in a legal deposition obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Thicke also received something else by taking a songwriting credit on “Blurred Lines” — between 18 and 22 percent of the royalties on the smash hit song, a payout that could be worth millions. The money went into Thicke’s bank account even though he admits under oath that he was simply “lucky enough to be in the room” when Pharrell wrote the song.
Thicke gave the deposition as part of an ongoing lawsuit in which the family of late soul singer and songwriter Marvin Gaye claim that the music to “Blurred Lines” was essentially plagiarized from Gaye’s 1977 number one hit, “Got To Give it Up.”
In repeated media interviews after “Blurred Lines” became a sensation — thanks in part to a risqué video featuring a sunglasses-wearing Robin Thicke cavorting with several nude models, and to controversy over whether the song’s lyrics advocated date rape — Thicke claimed that he and Pharrell wrote the song together after Thicke came up with the idea to write a groove-heavy song inspired by the Mavin Gaye classic.
“Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up,'” Thicke said in one frequently-quoted interview. “I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it.”
Under oath, however, Thicke sang a different tune.
“I was jealous and I wanted some of the credit,” Thicke said in the deposition. “I tried to take credit for it later because (Pharrell) wrote the whole thing pretty much by himself and I was envious of that.”
Thicke, who had never a hit on the scale of “Blurred Lines” previously or since, said that he was “high on vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio,” the day that Williams wrote the song.
But why would Pharrell Williams, one of the most sought-after and successful producers and songwriters in the music industry, agree to give Robin Thicke top billing on a composition Thicke had nothing to do with?
“This is what happens every day in our industry,” Williams said, also under oath. “You know, people are made to look like they have much more authorship in the situation than they actually do.”
Williams gave Robin Thicke credit for being “a white man singing soulfully,” which is what “holds the song together.” Pharrell then admitted that if he had performed vocals on the song himself, it would not have become a hit. When pressed on whose composition “Blurred Lines” actually is, Williams replied, “Mine.”