Ever listened to “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith and thought “Hmm, that sounds a bit like a Tom Petty track”? If so, you aren’t alone, as the singer-songwriter has reportedly been paying royalties to the legendary US rocker and ELO’s Jeff Lynne, both of whom penned 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down”
The issue was settled quietly out of court last October, according to The Sun, with Petty and Lynne now officially listed as co-writers of “Stay With Me” with 12.5 per cent credits each. The song was released last April to critical and popular acclaim and is one of just three tracks to make the 2014 top ten lists in the UK, the US and Australia. However, it didn’t take long before similarities were noted with “I Won’t Back Down”.
“Recently the publishers for the song “I Won’t Back Down,” written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, contacted the publishers for “Stay With Me,” written by Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips, about similarities heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two compositions,” a representative for Smith told The Independent.
“Not previously familiar with the 1989 Petty/Lynne song, the writers of “Stay With Me” listened to “I Won’t Back Down” and acknowledged the similarity.
“Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement in which Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now credited as co-writers of “Stay With Me” along with Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips.”
Smith is nominated for a string of Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance, and leads the Brit Awards shortlist with five nods. It remains to be seen whether Petty and Lynne will get shout outs should he win …