Ed Sheeran Says ‘101 Songs With the Same Chord Sequence’ Helped Him Win ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Lawsuit

In his first interview since his victory in the “Thinking Out Loud” copyright infringement lawsuit last week, Ed Sheeran told “Good Morning America” why he feels the jury believe that he did not copy Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit “Let’s Get It On” for his song.

It was “101 songs with the same chord sequence, and that was just, like, scratching the surface,” he said, adding that the jury “was very quick to see that and be like, ‘Oh, yeah.'” (Sheeran seems to have chosen that number randomly to illustrate a multitude.)

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Sheeran had been steadfast in his denial that he’d taken from Gaye’s song, despite the lawsuit brought by the family of Gaye’s co-writer on the song, the late Ed Townsend. While Sheeran’s song does recall the tempo and chord progression of Gaye’s hit, ultimately his testimony and even performance of the song, solo on acoustic guitar, during the trial helped to lean the jury in his favor. He even mashed it up with other songs that are generally similar.

Asked what inspired him to bring his guitar to court, Sheeran said, “I’d been wanting to do it for ages since it came out, but you have to do due diligence in court,” Sheeran said about his in-court performance. “So I just waited and knew that I would have my day to explain it and didn’t rush anything.”

A New York jury took just three hours of deliberation to reach its verdict on Thursday. Outside the courtroom, Sheeran said, “These chords are common building blocks which were used to create music long before ‘Let’s Get It On’ was written and will be used to make music long after we are all gone. They are in a songwriter’s ‘alphabet,’ our toolkit, and should be there for all of us to use. No one owns them or the way they are played, in the same way that nobody owns the color blue.” See the full interview here.

Also on Tuesday, the Academy of Country Music Awards announced that Sheeran will perform on the show, which will be hosted by country music icons Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks and airs Thursday at 7 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. CT.

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