If you’re a fan of Sam’s hit song ‘Stay with Me’, then you owe Tom Petty a thank you! After listening to Tom’s 1989 hit ‘I Won’t Back Down’, Sam has ‘acknowledged’ that his own track has a similar sound and agreed to pay Tom songwriting royalties!
Even though Sam Smith, 22, claims he had never heard “I Won’t Back Down” before the similarities were brought to his attention, the young singer is settling things “amicably” with Tom Petty, 64.
Sam Smith On Tom Petty Settlement: Sam To Pay Tom Royalties For ‘Stay With Me’
Although we’re just finding out about this now, Sam and Tom actually settled out of court in October 2014, according to The Sun. The settlement awarded a 12.5 percent writing credit to Tom and singer-composer Jeff Lynne of ELO, and the song’s credit on the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers now lists Sam, Tom, Jeff and Jimmy Napes as the lead songwriters.
A rep for Sam has released the following statement to Rolling Stone magazine:
“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.”
Sam Smith Blasts Today’s Pop Stars In New Interview
It comes as no surprise that Sam is willing to give Tom credit where credit is due. Although he’s less than thrilled with today’s pop stars, Sam is all about paying tribute to the music icons who have inspired him, including legendary soul singer Chaka Khan, 61, whom he recently interviewed for V Magazine.
Here’s what he told Chaka at the time: “Even when you meet them — I won’t name names — but some of these pop stars are just awful. And they have not even had half the success that you’ve had and yet you’re so humble and kind.” Ouch! Good thing Tom Petty doesn’t seem to feel the same way about young singer-songwriters.
So what do YOU think, HollywoodLifers? Are you glad Sam has agreed to pay Tom royalties? Let us know!
— Tierney McAfee