Earth Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White, a contemporary of late singer Marvin Gaye, says he doesn’t think Robin Thicke’s summer smash “Blurred Lines” borrows from Gaye’s repertoire, including, most notably, the 1977 song “Got to Give It Up.”
Since October, Thicke and the Gaye estate have been trading legal barbs, with the former launching a preemptive suit insisting that “Blurred Lines” is entirely original, while the latter has increasingly taken the offensive, claiming Thicke may have copied as many as four songs from the R&B singer, who died in 1984.
In fact, the Gaye estate contends that Thicke has a “Marvin Gaye Fixation” that informs much of his music.
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For his part, White, who performed the song with Thicke and rapper T.I. on Friday’s Grammy nominations concert (broadcast on CBS), disagrees with the family’s claim, telling The Hollywood Reporter he didn’t think much of it.
“If you listen to it, it’s in a totally different key,” he said following the CBS special. “I think the fact that the public liked it a lot it maybe started a little controversy but it went away as fast as it came.”
Digging further into its cultural relevance, White added that its success signals a return to the dance floor.
“It reflects the fact that people are ready to dance, because we haven’t danced in a while,” White said, adding: “It’s also bringing in a wave of good soul music that we haven’t had in a long time.”
White cites the success of Justin Timberlake and Daft Punk as “opening up the doors” to more rhythm-based R&B music, adding that his band since 1970 is also keeping the funk flame alive, releasing its most recent album, Now Then & Forever, in Sept. 2013.