Tom Petty has been given a songwriting credit for Sam Smith's hit song "Stay With Me"
Observers noticed similarities between "Stay With Me" and "I Won't Back Down"
Tom Petty has been given a songwriting credit for Sam Smith’s hit song “Stay With Me” – but he won’t be collecting a Grammy if the tune wins best song.
Despite Petty and collaborator Jeff Lynne being added to the song credits thanks to similarities between “Stay With Me” and the Petty song “I Won’t Back Down,” they didn’t add anything new to Smith’s song and therefore aren’t nominees, the Recording Academy’s Bill Freimuth told CNN.
“Since Lynne and Petty didn’t do any new writing for this work, we are considering their original work to have been interpolated by Napier, Phillips and Smith for ‘Stay With Me,’ ” said Freimuth, the Senior Vice President, Awards. “Lynne and Petty will not be considered nominees nor will they be considered Grammy recipients, should the song win. Rather, they would be given certificates to honor their participation in the work, just as any other writers of sampled or interpolated work.”
Petty and Lynne were added to “Stay With Me’s” credits after Petty’s team noticed a likeness between Smith’s song and Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” When the Petty camp reached out to Smith’s representatives, they settled the matter amicably and agreed that Petty and Lynne will receive royalties.
“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,” a representative for Smith told Billboard. “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.”
Listen to the two songs below:
CNN’s Todd Leopold contributed to this story.