Ed Sheeran Slams Musicologist’s ‘Criminal’ Testimony in Today’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Court Hearing

Ed Sheeran had strong words for a musicologist on Monday as the court hearing over alleged similarities between his hit “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s classic “Let’s Get It On” entered its second week.

“I think what he is doing is criminal,” Sheeran said of the prior testimony from Alexander Stewart, a musicologist hired as an expert witness by Gaye’s estate, according to the New York Times. “I don’t know why he’s allowed to be an expert.”

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Sheeran, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Publishing are being sued by three heirs of songwriter Ed Townsend, who is the credited co-writer with Gaye on the 1973 song.

As he did last week, Sheeran played his guitar to refute testimony Stewart’s testimony, in which he argued that one of the chords he plays in the opening of “Thinking Out Loud” is similar to the minor one that appears at the same point throughout “Let’s Get It On.” On Thursday, Sheeran played major chord he said he has played at that point in the song “every single gig,” and then the minor one that Stewart mentioned. “It works very, very well for him,” Sheeran said, “but it’s not the truth.”

Today, Sheeran returned to the stand and, under questioning from Ilene S. Farkas, one of his attorneys, showed that he can segue smoothly between bits of his own compsotions and other songs, by Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Blackstreet and Van Morrison, claiming that Stewart had misrepresented his songs’ melodies — and his intentions.

“To have someone come in and say, ‘We don’t believe you, you must have stolen it,’” Mr. Sheeran said, “I find that really insulting.”

Later, when Patrick Ryan Frank, a lawyer for the Gaye estate, questioned the chords Sheeran plays in the song, Sheeran fired back, “I know what I’m playing on guitar.”

Head here for more background on the lawsuit.

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