I must admit that i was initially “shocked” to hear about the jury judgment against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. The jury had ruled that there was plagiarism and copyright infringement for the hit song “Blurred Lines” when compared to Marvin Gaye’s hit song “Got to give it up.” Here is the article link to the story:
I honestly didn’t think this result would happen. Don’t get me wrong, I “know” that they were trying to capture the essence of the song and that is something that is commonplace in the music industry. i get asked a lot to copy the style of certain songs when it comes to creating something original. So what happened here? Well, after carefully examining the details of the case, I found that during the court session they were only allowed to use the “sheet music versions” of the two songs. For those of you who don’t know, sheet music is the actual “written” body of a song (usually expressed through notes on a chart). I have found that there were “many” sheet versions of music that were “not entirely accurate.” I once saw the sheet music version for Stevie Wonder’s classic “I wish,” and that version had the key of his song in “D.” Well, Stevie mostly writes his compositions in “sharp” keys and on the recording this particular song was in “E flat.” There are also other sheet music versions of songs that were equally as wrong. When it came to Thicke and Williams, I believe that Thicke’s own testimony did him in. He once said that he didn’t try to steal it and then he said that he did try to steal it and then he said that he was “high at the time.” Well, that won’t solidify you too well in a jury’s eyes. I do know this much. The percussion parts of the song are just about “exactly alike” but MANY songs will use the same drum beats without copyright infringement (and it is supposed to be lawful as well). The keys of the songs are different. The chord progressions are different. The bass lines are entirely different and the melody lines are different. My understanding was that “musical experts” were brought in to explain the music because the jury couldn’t listen to the actual tracks of the song (Why this was the case i can’t imagine). Needless to say, Thicke and Williams are ordered to pay $7.3 million (which won’t even make a sizable dent in their collective earnings). I do believe that this verdict will be appealed and I will wait until that ruling is announced before conceding. In music, you can copy a “style” as long as you don’t infringe on the actual music. Now with this ruling that might actually change. Stay tuned and we shall find out. Congratulations to the Gaye family for sticking up to what they felt was “right.” They proved their cases and deserve the monetary award. Let’s see how this effects the music industry as a whole. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Comedian Chris Tucker, Brother Bill Jolly and Brett Jolly
In this recent article it has been alleged that Robin Thicke, the crooner who had the big hit “Blurred Lines,” states that his estranged wife, Paula Patton, left him because he told the truth. Here is the link to the article:
In the entertainment field there are a “lot” of demons that “can and will” possess you if you are not strong enough to handle them. With fame often comes a “lot” of “temptation” and if you don’t handle it right you just might end up feeling as though there is a bright red target on your back. Thicke admitted that he had a drug and alcohol addiction. He said he took Vicodin and would often mix it with water and consume it before and during interviews. In his statement, he makes it seem as though his wife left him because he finally told her the truth. The fact is that she left him because he was “untruthful.” He was photographed literally “grabbing” some lady’s behind and for those of you who happened to see the video to his song “Blurred Lines” the women in it were all topless. It can be tough for any married couple to endure when one or both have a successful music career. You have to be able to “separate the business side” from the “personal side” and you have to incorporate a “massive faith” in trusting your partner. Paula Patton was an actress who knows the industry. She also was a wife who “knew her husband.” Thicke has no one but himself to blame for her leaving him, so for him to blame it on the fact that he “told the truth” was paramount to him not accepting responsibility for his own actions. The truth was coming out anyway whether he admitted to it or not. Telling her the truth did not excuse him from what he did so stop trying to blame it on the truth. Thicke and Pharrell Williams are credited with the success of Blurred Lines, even though they are currently being sued (and they are suing) the family of Marvin Gaye for copyright infringement of Gaye’s song “Got to give it up.” Many people feel as though the song was “stolen” from Gaye’s track. I have personally played both songs many times, and while I can tell you that the styles of both songs are very similar, there was no stealing of music in this instance. The melody lines are completely different. The chord progressions are completely different. The key of the song is completely different and the bass lines are completely different. If there is a stolen sample of Gaye’s tune in there I could not hear it (and my ears are perfectly tuned to pick out such things). Normally with most entertainers they have a “great rise” in their career that lasts for a while before they come crashing back to earth. In this situation it appears that Thicke’s “rise and fall” are actually transpiring at the “very same time.” A friend of mine who is a musician was once upset because his wife was leaving him. He was really bummed out over it and he asked me what he could do. I told him that the best way to get his wife back was to “show her something she never saw before” from him. Months later I talked to him and he thanked me for the advice, because they are now back together and happier than ever. I only hope that Robin Thicke finds the wherewithal to follow the same direction. This industry will “devour the weak” and his best friend “should” have been his wife. As I just said, his wife knows him, so if he really wants to get her back, then he needs to show her “someone that she DOESN’T know.” Accepting responsibility for his own actions is a “great way” to start. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and I wish you the very best that life has to offer today.
Billy Paul (“Me and Mrs. Jones” and “Your song”) and Brett Jolly in concert
I just heard about Robin Thicke’s marital woes. His wife, Paula Patton, says that the pair has separated, but she actually “wants” a divorce from him. Sources are saying that it all started when Thicke performed for the VMA’s and Miley Cyrus decided to back hump him with a simulated sex act during his set. It was reported that the act was totally impromptu and that Thicke played along and also simulated having sex back with her. It had been reported that later he and his wife had a big altercation with her claiming that he embarrassed her to the world when he did that. The truth of the matter is that social lives and music stardom are not normally a good mix. It takes a LOT of trust and understanding to make it work. Yes, Robin Thicke didn’t “have” to go along with Miley’s wildness, but to turn her away on public television would have looked really bad (as if she didn’t look bad enough already). In this business, things are going to happen. If you are a star then chances are someone will either proposition you, attack you or back grind you like Miley did. I remember when I was performing in Vegas a couple of years back. We were performing at Mandalay Bay and while I had my bass some woman grabbed onto my arm. I looked down at her and I said, “Baby, honest… you REALLY have to let go of my arm.” She hung on and had absolutely NO intentions of letting go. Security came up to me as if they were unsure of how to handle this situation. They asked me “Is everything okay?” I told them that I “think” they are going to need to “pry” this woman off of me. Well, they did “exactly that.” She tried to take as much of my skin as she could off me. She hung onto me for dear life. I just wanted to make sure that particular life “wasn’t going to be mine.” In Thicke’s case, it was also reported that there was a picture of him with his arm extended and his hand on some woman’s butt. The tough part about it was they his had was squarely there and he was even “digging in.” THAT was excessive and he didn’t have to go to that extent. If any of you have ever seen Jeffrey Osborne in concert, he would usually kiss a couple of women on each show. Years ago I was part of Jeffrey’s tour (I was with Jean Carne at the time and we were opening up for him on the road). Anyway, his wife was “always” backstage, so I asked her how she felt about all this “kissing” that Jeffrey was doing. She replied to me by saying “This is a business and I realize that I have to share him with his fans to some degree.” We have an understanding and I KNOW who he is going to be with after each show, so I can surely sacrifice a couple of kisses for his career and our well being. In the end, he still comes back to “ME.” I thought that was very admirable. Yes, in the music biz crazy things happen, and it takes a strong couple to understand and still have faith. Robin Thicke’s problem is that stardom got to him, and if he plans on keeping his wife, then they need to establish their own understanding. I am sure Thicke’s video (“Blurred Lines”) with all these topless women prancing around didn’t help matters much either. To be a star, you have to sometimes “go over the edge.” That doesn’t meant that you have to “live” that way. I am hoping that Thicke and his wife can reconcile all differences and that he can become a better man from this. It is one thing to “lead the life.” It is another to let the “life lead YOU.” Music and marriage are a tough mix, but with the right mind set it can be done. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Janet Jackson and Brett Jolly onstage
Recently I had a discussion with someone over Robin Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines.” I believe it has been listed as the heavy favorite for “song of the year.” However, I saw several news stories that question whether or not Thicke actually “stole” the song from the late Marvin Gaye. The articles I read claimed that parts of Marvin Gaye’s song “Got to give it up” were actually “sampled” by Thicke for his song. In one of the articles, there was even an alleged “expert” who said that the “bass lines” were in fact stolen from Gaye. I am not sure what classifies someone as an “expert” in identifying parts of songs, but I would like to say that I have something called “perfect pitch.” With perfect pitch, I can hear certain elements of songs and know the parts without having to pick up an instrument to verify it. My perfect pitch allows me to play just about “everything” without having to practice “anything.” I do not like it when “anyone” decides to steal music from another, although it happens a lot more than you might think in this industry. I have played (and even sung) BOTH songs many times, and “know” the similarities and differences between the two tunes too well. First, I will say that the tempo and the drum beats are “extremely” similar. However, that much is “not enough” by itself to constitute any plagiarism on Thicke’s part. The melody lines of each song are “no where near close” to each other, so in that regard there is also no theft. The lyrics are definitely not the same, so Thicke is safe there as well. The chord pattern/structure is also “not” identical by any means. The two songs are also in two different keys. If you played them both concurrently in the same key at the same time, they would still “not” match at all. Finally, no matter what the so called “experts” say about the songs, the bass lines are “absolutely” different. I have played the bass lines to both, and I promise there is “no” bass similarity between them. The styles of the two songs are “definitely” similar, but copying a style is NOT the same as copying the “song.” I didn’t detect “ANY” sampling of Gaye’s tune “Got to give it up” (unless, they sampled the drum part, which wouldn’t make much sense, because similar drum tracks “can” be used for different songs). I have heard that Thicke is actually suing Gaye’s family over whether or not they believe there is copyright infringement. The fact that “he is suing them” means that even “he” realizes the closeness in the way his tune sounds. When I work with artists to put a song together, I often ask them to give me a particular song and artist whose style they would like me to “emulate.” Emulating a style is not the same as stealing a song. Most times to emulate a song I would focus on a drum beat and tempo that would be similar to the track and I would focus on the “sound quality” of each instrument, but I absolutely would “not” steal any aspect of the music. To me, I do believe that Thicke wanted to have a song that copied the “style” of Marvin Gaye’s song. I have no doubt about that in my mind, because when you hear it, the style is absolutely there. However, when it comes to “individualized” components of the song, the similarities end there. I have no idea what will come out in court, but I do know this much: Robin Thicke did “NOT” steal Marvin Gaye’s song “Got to Give it up.” If he did, I would be the very FIRST to say it. However, judges in courts may not have the same ear as me and good lawyers have ways of “twisting the truth.” Time will tell on this one. I guess we will have no other alternative but to “hurry up”… and “wait.” Hope your day is a great one.
Aretha Franklin and Brett Jolly onstage