Ed Sheeran plays guitar, sings while testifying in “Thinking Out Loud” copyright trial

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In a New York courtroom Thursday, Ed Sheeran once again testified in his ongoing copyright trial. The family of the late songwriter Ed Townsend alleges that the British pop star’s hit “Thinking Out Loud” contains elements of Marvin Gaye‘s classic “Let’s Get It On,” which Townsend co-wrote.

Sheeran testified that he writes most of his songs in a single day. During questioning by his attorney Ilene Farkas, he said he did not stop to think about copying elements from “Let’s Get It On” when he composed his Grammy-winning hit.

Describing writing “Thinking Out Loud” with his frequent collaborator Amy Wadge, Sheeran says the two “sat guitar to guitar” while writing. The song was composed in February 2014 at Ed’s house and was inspired by both his grandfather, who’d just passed away, and his grandmother, who was battling cancer. 

Amy also had family members who were ill, and Sheeran says the concept of love at an advanced age was the impetus for the song. He recalled coming out of the shower and hearing Amy in another part of the house strumming chords.

“I remember thinking we have to do something with that,” Ed said, adding it took “really not that long” to write. “Amy definitely started strumming the chords,” he added. “It’s a collaboration.”

He then sang on the witness stand the song’s original words: “I’m singing out now” — which became “I’m thinking out loud.” He played the basic chord progression of “Thinking Out Loud” on guitar, providing the jury with a mini concert.

Sheeran will resume testifying on Monday, May 1.

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