Thinking Out Loud

Album: x (2014)
Charted: 1 2


  • This soulful song finds Sheeran tipping the hat to his key teenage influence, Van Morrison. "No one's really channeled Van Morrison for a long time," he pointed out to Q magazine. "Everyone always channels, Michael Jackson and the Beatles and Bob Dylan, and I feel like Van Morrison is a key figure in the music that I make."
  • Sheeran wrote this love song about his girlfriend at the time, Athina Andrelos, who worked for English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. The pair split up in early 2015 after dating for about a year.
  • Ed Sheeran wrote this with the Bristol singer-songwriter Amy Wadge, whom he previously worked with on his 2010 EP, Songs I Wrote With Amy. Another of their collaborations, "Even My Dad Does Sometimes," can be found on the deluxe version of x.

    Sheeran revealed to The Mirror that their song-writing session was held as a favor to his childhood friend to help her deal with financial issues. "[Amy] was going through financial troubles about a year ago," he said. "She drove to my house – my album was nearly done – and she asked if I could put a song from when I was 17 on the deluxe album, so she could get a little bit of money and pay the mortgage and bills and stuff."

    "While she was there, we wrote 'Thinking Out Loud'," he added. "Now she never has to worry about money again."
  • The romantic ballad was the last song that Sheeran wrote for x. He penned it in his kitchen.
  • The song's music video was directed by Emil Nava, who also filmed the clip for "Sing." The visual features Sheeran and his partner Brittany Cherry ballroom dancing and was shot all at once in 16 mm film. "I wanted the video to be a little different, so I opted for ballroom dancing," he explained when the video was released in October 2014. "I had lessons for five hours a day when I was on my US tour last month."

    Brittany Cherry was a contestant on Season 10 of the American TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. She is formally trained in ballroom, ballet, jazz, Latin and contemporary dance.
  • This topped the UK singles charts in its 19th week, after an exhilarating performance of the tune by Sheeran on the X Factor live show. In doing so the song broke the record for the slowest continual climb to #1, overtaking the 16-week ascent of Jennifer Rush's "The Power Of Love" and Celine Dion's "Think Twice."
  • The song broke the UK record for the most streams in a chart week when it was streamed 1.72 million streams in the week ending November 22, 2014.

    The record was broken a month later by Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk," which achieved 2.34 million streams in the pre-Christmas week.
  • Ed Sheeran wanted to look good for the video, so he lost 35 pounds, mainly by giving up beer.
  • Sheeran performed this at the Grammy Awards in 2015 backed by John Mayer on guitar, Questlove on drums, and Herbie Hancock on keyboards (Sheeran later joined Electric Light Orchestra on "Mr. Blue Sky"). X was nominated for Album Of The Year, but lost to Morning Phase by Beck.
  • This spent eight weeks at #2 on the Hot 100 behind Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" without ever reaching the peak position. Missy Elliott's "Work It" and Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You" hold the joint record for the most weeks peaked at the runner-up spot: ten apiece.
  • With electronic music ruling the airwaves, this was one of the few hit songs of its time with a guitar solo (played by Chris Leonard), which is near the end of the song in place of a bridge. Running 4:41, it was also very long by 2014 hit song standards, although this extra time makes the song more appealing as a first dance wedding number.
  • The song made history by becoming the first to spend a full year inside the UK Top 40. Pharrell Williams' "Happy" was the previous record holder, having spent 49 consecutive weeks on the Top 40.
  • This picked up the award for Song of the Year at the Grammys in 2016. Stevie Wonder presented the award, opening the envelope and reading the card in braille before saying, "I told my daughter Iesha this was a great song when I first heard it, and it has won tonight."

    When Sheeran collected the award with Amy Wadge, he said, "We wrote it on a couch in my house after having dinner. Quite odd." He also thanked his parents for flying to the ceremony each of the previous three years, only to see Ed come away empty-handed. When Sheeran turned the mic over to Wadge, however, producers didn't let her get a word in before rolling a Glenn Frey tribute.

    The song also won for Best Solo Pop Performance, but lost Record of the Year to "Uptown Funk."
  • The heirs of Ed Townsend, Marvin Gaye's co-writer and co-producer on "Let's Get It On," sued Ed Sheeran for plagiarism claiming he lifted key parts of the 1973 soul classic.

    The lawsuit claims, according to Reuters: "The Defendants copied the 'heart' of 'Let's' and repeated it continuously throughout 'Thinking.' The melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic compositions of 'Thinking' are substantially and/or strikingly similar to the drum composition of 'Let's.'"

    The suit came two months after musicians Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard sued Sheeran for allegedly stealing pieces of "Photograph."

    A federal judge dismissed the suit as Townsend's heirs failed to serve the complaint before the deadline of January 20, 2017.

    18 months later a company called Structured Asset Sales, which owns one third of the copyright to the song, added itself to the fray. The company originally tried to join the Townsend lawsuit but their request was turned down. As a result, Structured Asset Sales filed a suit on June 28, 2018 citing similarities in the "melody, harmony, and rhythm compositions" of the songs. The suit asks for $100 million in damages, as well as costs and attorney's fees.
  • This topped Spotify's 2017 list of the most popular wedding songs in America based on the streaming platform's user-made wedding playlists. Runner up was "Marry You" by Bruno Mars.

Comments: 3

  • Christina Rao from TexaaAbsolutely the BEST love song ever!!! Love you JCM!
  • Hannah from NopePHANtastic.
  • Triauna from MarylandI love this song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Don Brewer of Grand Funk

Don Brewer of Grand FunkSongwriter Interviews

The drummer and one of the primary songwriters in Grand Funk talks rock stardom and Todd Rundgren.

Joe Jackson

Joe JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Joe talks about the challenges of of making a Duke Ellington tribute album, and tells the stories behind some of his hits.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

16 Songs With a Heartbeat

16 Songs With a HeartbeatSong Writing

We've heard of artists putting their hearts into their music, but some take it literally.

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.