If you thought Sam Smith’s breakthrough single “Stay with Me” sounded a lot like Tom Petty’s 1989 hit single “I Won’t Back Down,” Smith agrees.
According to American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) public records, both Petty and his writing partner Jeff Lynne are listed as writers, along with Smith and collaborators William Edward Phillips and James John Napier.
How and when did it happen? According to U.K. media outlet The Sun, Smith and Petty settled out of court last October with an agreement that Petty and Lynne would receive a 12.5 percent share of songwriting credit.
A representative for ASCAP could not confirm or provide to TheWrap any other details about the agreement between the two parties. However, a representative for Smith said, “The likeness was a complete coincidence” in a statement released to the media on Monday.
“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 representative said. “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,” the statement concluded.