Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Accused of Plagiarism Over ‘Spark the Fire’ Lyrics
Gwen Stefani and Pharrell are facing accusations that they lifted the chorus of a song from an L.A. musician turned hair stylist, according to TMZ, in the latest example of the "Blurred Lines" of creative ownership.
A man named Richard Morrill alleges that Gwen Stefani actually got the inspiration for 2014's "Spark the Fire," co-written and produced by Pharrell, back in 1998. The singer first heard Morrill's song when he was coloring Stefani's hair, no less.
In his lawsuit, Morrill states that he played Stefani a song he recorded with his band, L.A.P.D., titled "Who's Got My Lighter?" 18 years later, he was evidently surprised to hear what he feels is an interpolation of his "Who's got my lightah? Who got the fire?" song lyrics in hers. "Who got the lightah? Let's spark the fiyah," Stefani chants on "Spark the Fire," in yet another Jamaican patois-borrowing song from the pop singer.
Critics have previously pointed out that "Spark the Fire" also bears some similarity to "Start the Fire" from Stefani's group No Doubt off their Rock Steady album. "C'mon baby get the lighter / We're gonna start the fire," Stefani sings on the 2001 emulation of a dancehall reggae track.
Morrill reportedly claims that Gwen admitted Pharrell wrote most of "Spark the Fire," and she mainly contributed the disputed chorus. TMZ reports Morrill is suing for a cut of $25 million in profits from the song, though the track failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
Listen to the two songs below — L.A.P.D.'s "Lighter" is more Korn than pop — and judge for yourself below.
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