Chances are, at some point you probably thought that Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" and Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" sounded maybe a little too similar. Well, you weren't wrong. The Sun reports that back in October, Petty and Smith's legal teams hashed out an agreement over the likeness where Petty receives royalties of 12.5 percent for the song. Smith's representatives released a statement to Fader on the situation, and said that though they weren't familiar with Petty's 1989 hit song, they did acknowledge the similarities, which led all parties to come to an agreement. The full statement, as well as streams of both songs can be found below.
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. 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.
UPDATE 1/29/15: Tom Petty released a statement on the situation, which you can read in full below.
"About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam. All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by. Sam’s people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement. The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said about it. How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself. Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this. A musical accident no more no less. In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all."