Tom Petty and his collaborator Jeff Lynne may be raking in a few more — highly debated — dollars from a new songwriting credit on Sam Smith‘s hit “Stay With Me.” The addition of Thomas Earl Petty and Jeff Lynne’s names to the song’s credits is the result of Petty’s team noticing similarities between “Stay With Me” and “I Won’t Back Down” and reaching out to Smith’s representatives.
Unlike some other recent cases of supposed compositional purloining, this one ended quite… peacefully.
Sam Smith’s representative tells Billboard: “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.”
It’s not the first time Petty’s sound has been mined — surreptitiously or otherwise — by an emerging artist. The Strokes‘ first single, “Last Nite” — particularly the opening — is very similar to Petty’s “American Girl,” a resemblance that Petty acknowledged in a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone. “I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, ‘OK, good for you.’ It doesn’t bother me.” Petty is not listed as a songwriter on that hit, however.
Petty’s representatives declined to comment.