Representative for Sam Smith Discusses the Tom Petty Copyright Dispute
As previously reported, British pop sensation Sam Smith made an out of court settlement with Tom Petty due to the overt similarities between his hit song, 'Stay With Me,' and the Heartbreakers' classic, 'I Won't Back Down.' A rep for Smith has now weighed in on the dispute, claiming that the writers of the song had never heard the classic rock staple.
"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," Smith's rep told Rolling Stone. "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."
The music publishing site ASCAP now officially lists Petty and Lynne as co-writers, along with Smith, Napier and Phillips.
'Stay With Me' was Smith's breakthrough single from last year, hitting the No. 1 spot on the charts in the U.K. and No. 2 in the U.S. Last fall, the song was nominated for three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance. In addition, the album, 'In the Lonely Hour' was one of the top selling albums worldwide in 2014. (It has been nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.)
And in case you were wondering, there is no truth to the rumor the 22-year-old Smith and 64-year-old Petty will join forces as the Petty Smith Group.