Entertainment

Sam Smith gives credit to Tom Petty in 'amicable agreement' over Stay With Me royalties

American folk rocker Tom Petty will get credit, and likely royalties, for the British crooner's hit as the musicians politely settle copyright dispute, reports Rolling Stone.

Copyright dispute centred on Smith's Stay With Me and its similarity to Petty's I Won't Back Down

Sam Smith, seen here at the 2014 American Music Awards, has agreed to give Tom Petty and ELO's Jeff Lynne co-writing credits for his hit single Stay With Me, according to reports. (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

British soul singer Sam Smith and American folk rocker Tom Petty have settled a copyright dispute that centres on the similarities between Smith's 2014 track Stay With Me, and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' 1989 hit I Won't Back Down.

American rocker Tom Petty wrote I Won't Back Down with ELO's Jeff Lynne for his 1989 album Full Moon Fever.
Despite being written decades apart, the songs' choruses sound strangely alike —so much so, that publishers for I Won't Back Down (written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne) contacted the publishers of Stay With Me (written by Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips) to set the matter straight.

After a close listening, Smith, Napier and Phillips "acknowledged the similarity," a representative for Smith told Rolling Stone magazine.

"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." 
  • On mobile? Watch Sam Smith's video for Stay With Me here
  • On mobile? Watch the video for I Won't Back Down here
  • On mobile? Listen to the songs overlaid here​

It's not clear how much Petty and Lynne will make as co-writers of the hit, or whether the pair will be paid retroactively.

Smith's gospel inspired ballad was one of the biggest songs of 2014 and its one of the 22-year-old hit maker's most successful singles to date.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.