Entertainment

Tom Petty calls Sam Smith song similarities 'a musical accident'

U.S. rocker Tom Petty says he has no hard feelings against U.K. singer Sam Smith after Smith's similar-sounding song put the artists in a creative 'predicament'.

'These things can happen,' writes the U.S. rocker who was given songwriting credits on Smith's Stay With Me

American rocker Tom Petty says the word "lawsuit" was never mentioned after similarities were discovered between his 1989 hit, I Won't Back Down, and Stay With Me, by U.K. singer Sam Smith.

Tom Petty says he has no hard feelings toward singer Sam Smith and called the similarities between Smith's Grammy-nominated hit Stay With Me and Petty's 1989 song I Won't Back Down a musical accident.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said in a statement posted to his website Tuesday that "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 Smith's gospel inspired ballad, Stay With Me, was one of the biggest songs of 2014. (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
He said he never intended to sue Smith and didn't know how their settlement agreement became public.

After Petty's song publishers pointed out the similarities, Smith quickly agreed to give Petty and his co-writer, Jeff Lynne, songwriting credits on Stay With Me. The British artist's breakthrough hit sold more than 3.5 million tracks and is up for song of the year at next month's Grammy Awards.

Petty called the development "hardly news."

"I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career," Petty said. "Peace and love to all."


Tom Petty's full statement:

"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."

-Tom Petty

With files from CBC News

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