With 14.8 million worldwide sales, Blurred Lines became not only the best-selling single of 2013, but also one of the all-time best. When they wrote it in less than an hour, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. were trying to emulate the first’s all-time favourite song, Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up. Thicke recalls telling Williams that they should “make something like that, something with that groove.”
Apparently, Gaye’s family viewed this as more than just inspiration and sued the 3 song-writers for plagiarism. The court law was settled in the favor of the family, resulting in a gain of $7.4 million for them and Gaye’s name added to the songwriting credits. Williams expressed his disappointment in the decision by telling The Financial Times that “the verdict handicaps any creator out there who is making something that might be inspired by something else.”.
Some viewed the resemblance between the two songs as something positive, such as The Roots’ Questlove who told Vulture that “Everything that Pharrell produces is derivative of another song — but it’s an homage.” Michigan Daily felt that Thicke managed to do Gaye justice despite the high expectations caused by sampling such a legendary musician. They added that “By the time the multilayered and carnal harmonies of the chorus come in, the song is completely on fire”.
Blurred Lines spent 12 consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100 before being dethroned by Katy Perry’s Roar.