English singer and songwriter Ed Sheehan has been sued for at least $100 million for allegedly copying large parts of Marvin Gaye’s classic “Let’s Get It On” for his smash hit “Thinking Out Loud.”
The lawsuit was filed by a company owned by David Pullman, an investment banker who in 1997 arranged the pioneering $55 million sale of “Bowie Bonds,” which made David Bowie the first musician to sell bonds backed by royalties from his catalog.
According to the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, “Thinking Out Loud,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 2015, copies the “melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation and looping” of “Let’s Get It On,” which hit No. 1 in September 1973.
Other defendants include Sony/ATV Music Publishing and the Atlantic record label.
Representatives for Sheeran and Atlantic did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sony/ATV spokesman Paul Williams declined to comment.
Those defendants have denied any infringement in a related lawsuit filed by heirs of the late producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote “Let’s Get It On” with Gaye. Pullman’s company, Structured Asset Sales LLC, owns one-third of Townsend’s estate.
Sheeran, 27, has faced infringement claims over other songs, including “Photograph” and “Shape of You.”
Gaye was fatally shot by his father in 1984 at age 44.