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Behind the Song: Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’

(Anthony Mandler for Interscope Records)

(Anthony Mandler for Interscope Records)

By Annie Reuter

One thing is certain: Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines” was the most talked about song of the summer.

It made headlines when the unrated video for the song, featuring topless women, was banned on YouTube in March. And three months later, when it catapulted to No. 1, you couldn’t escape the song if you tried.

If that wasn’t enough, his jaw-dropping performance with Miley Cyrus at MTV’s Video Music Awards left another lasting — albeit questionable — impression.

Now the song, featuring T.I. and Pharrell, is up for Record Of The Year and Best Pop Duo or Group at the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Suffice it to say, “Blurred Lines” has monumentally changed the course of Thicke’s career.

In an interview with Radio.com, the singer-songwriter said that the track stemmed from a simple jam session where he and Pharrell were throwing out ideas.

“I came into the studio and I was like, ‘You know, I love this Marvin Gaye ‘Got to Give It Up’ song. It is one of my favorite songs of all time. I wonder if I can take that feel and maybe make something fresh,'” Thicke recalled.

The Gaye family went on to form a major lawsuit against Thicke over the song, claiming copyright infringement, to which Thicke later countered with his own suit explaining that “being reminiscent of a ‘sound’ is not copyright infringement” and that “the intent in producing ‘Blurred Lines’ was to evoke an era.”

Which “Blurred Lines” does, harkening back to the soul music of the ’60s that got everyone dancing, which is exactly the effect it had on Thicke himself.

“One of the first things Pharrell did was go, ‘Hey, hey, hey!’ and then we started having such a great time,” he explained.
“We were dancing around the studio like old men. We were doing our old men barbecue dances.”

Thicke notes that Pharrell — who produced the track and is up for Producer of the Year — was a big reason the song has been so successful.

“Pharrell, being one of the great hitmakers of the last 20 years, he really has an amazing ability, like a great director, like Scorsese or Spielberg, to see the artist and individually create something…that is different from what he would create for another artist,” Thicke said. “A lot of producers try to put their sound onto you, where Pharrell really creates something individual for the artist.”

Thicke also admits that the racy video for the track certainly helped boost people’s interest in the song. After the clip amassed over a million views on YouTube, it was taken down, much to the disappointment of the singer.

“The video breaks all the rules,” he said. “Everything you’re not supposed to do in a video we did.”

Thick says the video helped make it clear that the song was fun, sexy and cool. A combination that isn’t always found in the current state of mainstream pop.

“Most of time big pop songs are normally very corny. Even though you love them, they’re guilty pleasures,” Thicke said. “This one doesn’t feel so guilty.”

Watch the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards Sunday, January 26 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.

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