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Tom Petty “Won’t Back Down” From Settlement That Give’s Him 12 Percent Authorship of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Sam Smith/Tom Petty

In Case You missed it when it was first released in April of 2014, Sam Smith’s hit “Stay With Me” has a remarkable similarity to the sound of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ 1989 hit “I Wont Back Down.” Of course this fact wasn’t ever lost on Petty’s lawyers. They scored Petty an out of court settlement with Smith back in October.  Now as details of the agreement have hit the web, the terms of this once private arrangement have been made public for all of us to to see, Petty and friends have been credited as co-writers of “Stay With Me.”

According to British publication The Sun, this agreement fundamentally changed the song’s writing credit. It now includes  Petty, Jeff Lynne of ELO, and  Jimmy Napier  with Smith as the song’s principle writers.  This entitles Petty and crew 12.5 % of the song’s authorship and publishing rights.

“When Sam’s track was originally released, it was clear to a lot of musicians that there were notable similarities between the tracks,” a source close to the story said, referring specifically to melodies of the respective choruses.

When contacted about the issue, Sam’s camp did everything they could to cooperate, saying that the similarity was unintentional.  Below are the team’s official remarks.

“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.” 

“Stay With Me” has sold nearly four million copies world wide, making one of the best selling songs of last year. Not bad unexpected retirement income for 64-year-old Tom and the gang, considering they wrote their contribution 3 years before Sam’s birth a world and cultural influence away in London England.

Listen to both songs below and decide how you feel about it all.

Sam Smith 

“Stay With Me”

Capitol Records 

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
“I Won’t Back Down”
MCA Records