Legendary Memphis and Motown musician reacts to “Blurred Lines” ruling

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Memphis musician is doing a victory dance Tuesday over the decision by a federal jury that "Blurred Lines" songwriters Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams flat-out copied Marvin Gaye's classic, "Got to Give it Up."

Jack Ashford played percussion in Gaye's song, and WREG was the only news nation there when he gave his deposition for the trial.

WREG sat down with Ashford at Royal Studios in South Memphis.

Ashford said it's easy to do: many times you're writing a song, and don't even realize you're echoing another song.

"I know how well you can get immersed into a composition you've created, and you're being influenced by something you've heard before," said Ashford.

He doesn't have a problem with that. He has a problem with songwriters ripping off other artist on purpose.

Tuesday, a jury ruled the 2013 hit, "Blurred Lines" sounded awfully familiar to Gaye's 1977 hit, "Got to Give it Up."

As punishment, songwriters Pharrell and Thicke will have to pay the Gaye family $7.3 million.

"I wish it was seven billion! You know, he was such a nice guy," said Ashford.

Ashford said he's listened to both songs several times.

"Basically they played the rhythm I played, because it wasn't a complicated rhythm I did," he said.

Ashford said "Blurred Lines" has a cowbell in it just like "Got to Give it Up." Well, sort of.

"Marvin asked me to put a cowbell in it, but I didn't have a cowbell, so I took a Coca-Cola bottle and a fork. I told Art Stewart, the engineer, roll some of the highs off, and it will be close to a cowbell sound," said Ashford. "I played a Coca-Cola bottle, and everyone thought it was cowbell, and they did that on Pharrell's with a cowbell. " >

Pharrell and Thicke are sticking to their story: Gaye's song was feel not infringement.

Pharrell told the jury he grew up with Gaye's music, but never intentionally copied his sound.

Thicke told the jury he was intoxicated with he did interviews about the infringement claims leading up to the trial.

The two filed the lawsuit to try to prove their point.

"Sometimes you can shoot yourself in your foot, and maybe that's what happened here," said Ashford. "The best thing to do is to keep quiet, and let the court make their decision."

"I'm so filled with emotions that it's hard to get the words out, but this was a miracle," said Gaye's daughter Nona Gaye.

Tears of joy fell from her face as she left court. She was thrilled over the ruling.

Ashford said it is a ruling that could have a huge impact on the music industry.

"I think they will have a closer watch and listen a little closer to possible infringements," said Ashford.

Thicke and Pharrell's attorney said the decision will have a chilling effect on musicians who try to emulate an era or another artist's sound.

The Gaye family's attorney is also trying to stop the sale of "Blurred Lines," and will file the official paperwork next week.

The verdict could face years of appeals.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.