Before evolving the global disco scene, the Italian-born Moroder made his name in German pop music. After his breakthrough, he moved to Hollywood and scored some of the biggest films of the 1980s, including Scarface, Flashdance, Top Gun, and The Never Ending Story, racking up Oscars like Meryl Streep along the way. Moroder’s innovation opened the door for a generation of electronic producers and pop impresarios—from Trent Reznor to Pharrell Williams—to score major Hollywood films.
The $7.2 million lawsuit that Marvin Gaye’s family won over “Blurred Lines” caused a lot of controversy. As someone whose work influenced so many artists, do you think the verdict was fair?
There was an article saying, “How would music have progressed if Giorgio Moroder would not have allowed Daft Punk to play his samples?” and all this stuff. So, I was jokingly thinking, I could sue everybody who played that kind of a bass line, from 1976 up to now. There were probably 1,700 songs with a similar bass line. I would be almost a billionaire! [Laughs.] But I’ve never sued anybody since I’ve been in the business. I might if it’s a little closer to the original, like I think there was one Madonna song [2005’s “Future Lovers”] where there was the same bass line and they changed just one note. But if they go only by the “feel” of the song, then every composer is going to have a big problem. I probably was influenced by some similar stuff before me. It’s an evolution, and you cannot stop it.