UPDATE: Jan. 28, 2015 Thurs.: Tom Petty has addressed the recent news regarding the Sam Smith/Stay With Me Saga. Here’s a statement released by Petty saying this is not what everyone is making it seem like.
About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam. All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by. Sam’s people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement. The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said about it. How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself. Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this. A musical accident no more no less. In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all. -Statement from Tom Petty
If you were one of the many that speculated that Sam Smith’s first hit single ‘Stay With Me‘ and Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’ sounded similar, you have been onto something. It appears Petty’s lawyers thought the same and now Sam Smith and Tom Petty have come to an agreement.
Back in October, The Sun reported that both of the singer’s legal teams came to an agreement where Tom Petty would receive royalties equaling 12.5% for the song. (Listen to the song’s chorus’ played together at the bottom of the page)
Being a huge fan of Sam, I can admit, the song is very similar but only when comparing the two chorus’, (just a theory) they possibly got the number 12.5 because that is how much of the song the chorus takes up on ‘Stay With Me’.
Sam Smith’s representatives say they were not familiar with Tom’s song from 1989 in a statement to Fader.
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. 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.
The song listing on ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) has been changed to show Smith, Napier, Phillips, and newly listed, Petty and Lynne.
Take a listen for yourself, first Sam’s song, then Petty’s, but then also watch the third video, where they layer only the chorus’ together for the resemblance.
Sam Smith: “Stay With Me”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: “I Won’t Back Down”
Both song’s chorus’ overlapped (This video was posted in July of 2014, well before the legal issues went public, sparking speculation)
I think Sam did a spectacular job with ‘Stay With Me’ nonetheless, Tom, stop being petty…