After the release of his 2014 hit “Stay With Me,” Sam Smith received a fair amount of critiques that the song shared too many similarities with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ 1989 single “I Won’t Back Down.”
Reportedly, last fall talks began between agents and lawyers representing the musicians about the two songs, in which the chorus bears a striking resemblance in progression. According to Sam’s agent, “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.”
So while this might have been settled a little while back, news just broke about the situation this weekend. Petty and producer Jeff Lynne are now entitled to royalties on “Stay With Me,” although it is unclear whether they will be compensated for earnings prior to the settlement.
Smith’s agent also said that the writers of “Stay With Me,” which peaked at number two on US Billboard‘s Hot 100, were previously unfamiliar with the 1989 Petty tune. Fat chance! While it may have only reached #12 on the Hot 100, “I Won’t Back Down” is three years older than Smith and has been far more famous than him for far longer.
“Stay With Me” was the song that depressed you all summer long, while “I Won’t Back Down” has been an inspiring anthem for over 25 years. Still, we’re glad to see that all of the artists came to a friendly settlement.
Listen to the songs and decide for yourself!
Did Sam Smith’s hit single “Stay With Me” copy from this Tom Petty tune? Listen for yourself here…