Derrick SantiniEarlier this week, it was announced that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty and legendary rock singer/songwriter/producer Jeff Lynne had been added to the songwriting credits of Sam Smith's Grammy-nominated hit, "Stay with Me," because of its supposed similarity to Petty and Lynne's 1989 hit composition, "I Won't Back Down." Now, Petty has issued statement about that decision, saying there's no bad blood between himself and Sam.
"About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam," Petty writes on his website. "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."
Here, Petty is apparently referring to the fact that sometimes, songwriters are unaware that what they're working on is similar to an existing song.
Tom then continues, "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."
Petty concludes, "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."
When the news of the credit addendum came to life, Sam's rep issued a statement saying that the publishers of "I Won't Back Down" had contacted the publishers of "Stay with Me" about the "similarities heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two compositions." The statement went on to say that Sam and his co-writers were not "previously familiar with" Petty's hit, but they "acknowledged the similarity."
That statement concluded, "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 Recording Academy later clarified that if "Stay with Me" wins the Song of the Year Grammy, Petty and Lynne will not receive trophies, because they didn't do any "new writing" on the song.
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