Representing the only complex thing about it, “Blurred Lines” has long been the subject of a confusing legal tangle between its principal songwriters, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, and the estate of Marvin Gaye. After Gaye’s family threatened legal action, claiming that “Blurred Lines” borrowed heavily from the late singer’s “Got To Give It Up,” representatives for Thicke et al. preemptively sued Gaye’s family; the latter quickly returned the favor with a cross-complaint. In April, that argument played out in depositions that The Hollywood Reporter recently acquired, making one more thing about Thicke’s life uncomfortably public.
Much of the Gaye estate’s claim is built on statements Thicke made to the press about his influence—in particular, an interview he gave to GQ, where he said, “One of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up.’ I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that.” But according to Thicke’s deposition, you shouldn’t take anything he said or did seriously, because he was super high all the time.
“With all due respect, I was high and drunk every time I did an interview last year,” Thicke said, explaining that he often lies when discussing his music as a means of personal gain, whether it’s to sell records or make himself look more important. But, he swears, he’s certainly being honest now, during this testimony regarding possible plagiarism, when he insists that Pharrell was really the one who wrote the song. Like a good girl, he was just sort of there to be used.
Q: Were you present during the creation of ‘Blurred Lines’?
Thicke: I was present. Obviously, I sang it. I had to be there.
Q: When the rhythm track was being created, were you there with Pharrell?
Thicke: To be honest, that’s the only part where — I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio. So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was and I — because I didn’t want him — I wanted some credit for this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song.”
In fact, Thicke says, he feels he was just “lucky enough to be in the room” when Williams wrote it. Williams, for his part, doesn’t disagree that “Blurred Lines” is his song. Still, his explanation for its success takes pains to flatter Thicke as the hottest bitch in this place:
Because it’s the white man singing soulfully and we, unfortunately, in this country don’t get enough — we don’t get to hear that as often, so we get excited by it when the mainstream gives that a shot. But there’s a lot of incredibly talented white folk with really soulful vocals, so when we’re able to give them a shot — and when I say ‘we,’ I mean like as in the public gives them a shot to be heard, then you hear the Justin Timberlakes and you hear the Christina Aguileras and you hear, you know, all of these masterful voices that have just been given, you know, an opportunity to be heard because they’re doing something different.
Williams was also asked whether Gaye is one of his influences, to which he responded, “He’s an Aries. I respect him.” This isn’t expected be useful as testimony, but should prove successful as a meme.
The case is set for February 2015, where the Gayes plan to use his deposition to undermine Thicke’s reputation, saying he “actually testified that he is not an honest person. This complete contempt for the judicial system, and their obligations to tell the truth, can best be summed up by Thicke’s ultimate admission, while under oath, that he ‘[does not] give a fuck’ about this litigation.”
Of course, despite Thicke saying he just didn’t know what he was doing and trying to blame it on the drugs and alcohol, as any fan of “Blurred Lines” knows, Thicke is completely culpable here. The way he showed up to the studio like that, Williams knew he must want to get nasty.