“Blurred Lines” is a single written and performed by American recording artists Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell Williams. Produced by Pharrell, it serves as the lead single from Thicke’s album of the same name. It was released on March 26, 2013 through Pharrell’s label Star Trak Recordings. Recorded in 2012, the song was primarily inspired by the Marvin Gaye song “Got to Give It Up”, and apart from T.I.’s rap was entirely the work of Williams. However, Thicke clearly laid claim to writing credits on the track according to a Reuters article. The song became the subject of a bitter legal dispute with the family of Gaye and Bridgeport Music as to whether the song infringed copyrights to “Got to Give It Up”. Thicke and Williams were found liable for copyright infringement by a federal jury in March 2015, and Gaye was awarded posthumous songwriting credit based on the royalties pledged to his estate.
The song’s music video was released in two versions, with one featuring models Emily Ratajkowski, Jessi M’Bengue, and Elle Evans being topless, while the other censored nudity. The uncut version of the video was at one time removed from YouTube for violating the site’s terms of service regarding nudity; it was later restored, but with an age restriction. The song’s lyrics and music video have proven controversial with some groups, with claims that it is misogynistic and promotes date rape. This has led to the song being banned at universities and other institutions in the United Kingdom and prompted a rebuttal from Thicke.
“Blurred Lines” was an immense success worldwide, peaking at number one in at least 25 countries and becoming the number one song of 2013 in several of them. It became Thicke’s first, T.I.’s fourth, and Pharrell’s third number-one single in the US, where it was also the longest running number one single of 2013. The song subsequently became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with sales of 14.8 million, simultaneously breaking the record for the largest radio audience in history. The single was nominated for two Grammys at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The song has been parodied and covered numerous times.