Tom Petty recently took Sam Smith to court over his 2014 single “Stay With Me”. Following claims that the chorus of Smith’s song sounded fairly similar to the chorus of Petty’s single “I Won’t Back Down”, Petty was awarded partial royalties.
According to Spin News, the court case between the two parties actually occurred in October, but news of the settlement is now surfacing. Sam Smith, James Napier, and William Philips wrote “Stay With Me”. When the similarity between two songs was brought to Smith’s attention, he acknowledged the similarities and was quick to settle. The courts official recognized Petty and co-writer Jeff Lynn for writing 12.5 percent of “Stay With Me”.
According to Fader, Smith’s party put out the following statement addressing the controversy:
“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.”
Take a listen for your self. The videos for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” are located below.