Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ed Sheeran’s Plagiarism Problems Are Getting Worse: Latest One Exposes Faith Hill and Tim McGraw


We all like Ed Sheeran. He’s a nice guy, lots of fun, and a seemingly serious musician.

So why why why does he have such a bad problem with plagiarism?

His latest involves a song called “The Rest of Our Life,” which he gave to country superstar husband and wife Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The song sounds so much like Jasmine Rae’s 2014 hit “When I Found You” that its Australian writers, Sean Carey and Beau Golden, have filed suit against Sheeran, et al. And yes, the songs are very much alike.

So what is going on here, Ed? It was only earlier this year that Sheeran had to add the songwriters of TLC’s “No Scrubs” to the credits of his massive hit “Shape of You.” Indeed, the shape of Sheeran’s song came from “No Scrubs” and there was no debating it.

And that wasn’t the first time Sheeran stepped in it. Another massive hit, “Thinking of You,” has caused a lawsuit from Marvin Gaye’s family. They hear the classic “Let’s Get it On,” when Sheeran’s song is playing, and frankly, I always did. Sheeran took some of the song and most of its feel for his hit. The Gayes had already won a big lawsuit against Robin Thicke over “Blurred Lines,” so they’re not strangers to this situation.

This kind of thing happens occasionally. Sam Smith had to add Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty to his “Stand By Me” because it was lifted right out of their “I Won’t Back Down.” In 1971, George Harrison conceded that “My Sweet Lord” was influenced by “He’s So Fine,” which led to a decade of litigation. There have been plenty of other examples. In the 80s, Michael McDonald thought he’d written a pop hit with “I Keep Forgetting” until someone pointed out that he’d just re-written the Chuck Jackson hit from the 1960s. Famed pop authors Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller wound up sharing credit.

There are lots more of these. Sometimes the music publisher doesn’t want to deal with it. I don’t think Curtis Mayfield’s estate has ever gotten satisfaction from John Mayer, whose “Waiting for the World to Change” is completely lifted from Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” and “We’re a Winner.” (A lot of Mayer is based on Mayfield.)

And this is different from sampling, which is Alicia Keys’s hobby to be sure. This is more like what Mariah Carey did in her heyday with Tommy Mottola– just taking the music and waiting for the lawsuit. (Mariah settled plenty of them in her day.)

What’s frustrating is that Sheeran seems capable of not doing this. All he has to do is ask someone over 30, “Does this sound familiar?” And it when it does, you scrap it. Otherwise, it’s back to the courts.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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