The lead singer of rock band The Zutons told a jury today that he broke a man's nose because he was intimidated and frightened that he would be attacked himself.
Dave McCabe, 29, headbutted student Peter Appleby, 23, during an alcohol-fuelled row outside a nightclub, Liverpool Crown Court has heard.
McCabe, who wrote the hit song Valerie, which was covered by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson, says he acted in self-defence after one of Mr Appleby's friends mocked his girlfriend's fur-collared coat - saying it looked like she had a beard.
Giving evidence today, McCabe talked the jury of five women and six men through CCTV footage of the early-hours incident outside Liverpool's trendy Korova bar on Sunday February 21 this year.
The musician said he had visited the bar, in Hope Street, with his girlfriend, two brothers and other friends after attending his mother's 60th birthday party.
At around 3.30am, the couple decided to head home and were waiting outside for the rest of their party when they were approached by a group of five students who had also been drinking in Korova.
He said: "The group of men stood next to us and one of them said to my girlfriend 'You look like you have got a beard'.
"They all started laughing and she said 'Why don't you grow up, you dickheads?"'
McCabe told the court the group continued "laughing and sniggering" so he approached them to "smooth things over".
He said: "I told them I was sorry about what she called them but it was a silly thing for them to say.
"I used to go to that bar a lot and I wanted to smooth things over.
"I told them there was no need for all this but they were telling me to f*** off.
"They were surrounding me and I said they couldn't pick on us like that.
"Appleby got close to my face and was saying 'F*** off'.
"He raised his hand and I could tell from his body language that he was going to punch me so I headbutted him and backed off."
Cross-examined by Ben Morris, prosecuting, McCabe said he had drunk three glasses of wine and five bottles of Corona beer throughout the night.
The musician, of Vale Road, Liverpool, said he felt that the group would have followed him if he had tried to walk away.
He said: "I did approach them but I didn't want a fight. I was looking after my girlfriend.
"I would rather talk my way out of the situation."
He said he headbutted Mr Appleby because he felt he "didn't have time" to raise his own arms for protection.
Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Appleby denied he moved his arms to punch McCabe and said he and his friends had not intended to upset the couple.
The student told the jury he had consumed six pints of Guinness during the night and admitted he was drunk.
The Zutons formed in 2001 and have released three albums.
The second, Tired Of Hanging Around, released in 2006, gave them two top 10 hits.
The trial was adjourned and will resume at 10.30am tomorrow.