Ed Sheeran celebrates court victory with surprise New York street concert
By Steve Hopkins
"Can I sing you one song before I go?"
The singer-songwriter was taken to court over accusations that his song ‘Thinking Out Loud’ copied harmonic progressions and melodic and rhythmic elements from Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ without permission. The case had been brought by the heirs of Ed Townsend, the songwriter who wrote the 1973 anthem with Gaye.
Kathryn Townsend filed a lawsuit against Sheeran in 2017 arguing there are “striking similarities” between the two tracks and demanded money for the alleged copyright infringement.
A Manhattan jury, however, found in the English popstar's favour.
Following the trial – that could have cost him his career as Sheeran vowed to quit if he lost – the musician gave an impromptu concert, on top of a car, outside an American Express pop-up.
— Ed Sheeran HQ (@edsheeran) May 5, 2023
Quietening onlookers down, the singer-songwriter said: “Guys, can I sing you one song before I go?”
Sheeran then performed a rendition of ‘Boat’, the opening track from his new album Subtract that also came out last week.
Crowds of people cheered and recorded the popstar's performance on their phones, as he spun around on the car’s roof to ensure he was singing to everyone gathered.
Speaking outside court after the jury delivered their verdict, Sheeran said: “I’m obviously very happy with the outcome of the case. It looks like I’m not having to retire from my day job after all.”
Continuing, he added: “At the same time, I’m unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this are allowed to go to court at all. We’ve spent the last eight years talking about two songs with dramatically different lyrics, melodies and four chords, which are also different and are used by songwriters every day, all over the world.
“I’m just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy. I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for someone to shake. Having to be in New York for this trial has meant that I’ve missed being with my family at my grandmother’s funeral in Ireland and I will never get that time back.
“We need songwriters and the wider community to come together and bring back common sense. These claims need to be stopped so the creative process can carry on and we can all go back to making music. At the same time, we absolutely need trusted individuals, real experts who help support the process of protecting copyright. Thank you.”
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