Tom Petty & Jeff Lynne Given Credit, Royalties For Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” Due To “Won’t Back Down” Similarity

Robbie Daw | January 26, 2015 8:12 am
Sam Announces Break-Up With Boyfriend
Sam is in the lonely hour once more after splitting with his model boyfriend.

You may recall that when the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ 2006 hit “Dani California” arrived and sounded not unlike Tom Petty‘s “Last Dance With Mary Jane,” Petty was pretty laid back about the whole thing. “If someone took my song note for note and stole it maliciously, then maybe [I’d sue],” the rocker stated at the time. “But I don’t believe in lawsuits much. I think there are enough frivolous law suits in this country without people fighting over pop songs.”

Nor will there be much of a fuss over Sam Smith’s 2014 smash “Stay With Me,” which appears to have been influenced, melodically, by Petty’s 1989 single “I Won’t Back Down.” The latter song was co-written (and co-produced) by Petty and Jeff Lynne, and both have reportedly been been given a 12.5% writing credit for “Stay With Me.”

Stereogum notes (per an article in The Sun) that Smith’s and Petty’s camps settled the deal out of court last October, and the details are just now making their way online. The song’s full writing credit, says Stereogum, now lists Smith, Petty, Lynne, and Jimmy Napes as the songwriters.

“When Sam’s track was originally released, it was clear to a lot of musicians that there were notable similarities between the tracks,” a source told NME. “After it was pointed out to Sam’s camp, they didn’t try to fight it and amicably dished out royalties. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, musicians are just inspired by other artists and Sam and his team were quick to hold up their hand when it was officially flagged.”

Can you hear the similarities in “I Won’t Back Down” and “Stay With Me” below?

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