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Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

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Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Old 01-26-15, 03:59 PM
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Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

I know both songs, but it doesn't jump out to me. I'll have to listen to both again and see if there is a mashup anywhere. Further links in the article at the link.

Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Upon the release of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” in April 2014, a number of listeners were quick to note the distinct resemblance to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1989 classic “I Won’t Back Down”. As it turns out, Petty’s lawyers also took notice, and the UK crooner has since agreed to pay songwriting royalties.

According to The Sun, Smith and Petty actually settled out of court back in October, but details only emerged just this weekend. The settlement reportedly included a 12.5% writing credit to both Petty and singer-composer Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame). The song’s credit on ASCAP — that’s the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers — now lists Smith, Petty, Lynne, and Jimmy Napes as the chief songwriters.


Said one source close to the case, “When Sam’s track was originally released, it was clear to a lot of musicians that there were notable similarities between the tracks,” referring specifically to melodies of the respective choruses. “After it was pointed out to Sam’s camp, they didn’t try to fight it and amicably dished out royalties. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, musicians are just inspired by other artists and Sam and his team were quick to hold up their hand when it was officially flagged.”

The source went on to note the case was “done behind closed doors without any mud being slung,” explaining that similar songwriting cases have turned ugly publicly.

Update: A rep for Smith confirms that Petty and Lynne are now listed as co-writers for “Stay With Me” and “acknowledges” its similarities to “I Won’t Back Down”. However, the rep contends that it’s all a “complete coincidence.”

“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.”

“Stay With Me” has sold nearly four million copies worldwide, making it one of the most successful singles of 2014. It’s also up for both Best Pop Performance and Record of the Year at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
Old 01-26-15, 04:19 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Sorry, I just don't think it's that much of a blatant similarity. I've heard both songs many times and it never occurred to me that Stay sounded anything like I won't back down. I get the fact that it uses the same chords in the chorus but the cadence and tempo are so different it's a completely different song.
Old 01-26-15, 05:53 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

I can hear it now that it's been pointed out to me, but I don't think I'd have realized it otherwise. I could see it being a coincidence, but good for the Sam Smith camp to just settle it without making a big stink about it. Will likely bury the story and protect Smith's image.
Old 01-26-15, 06:01 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

It will also save him a lot of time, money, and trouble.
Old 01-26-15, 06:04 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

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Old 01-26-15, 06:30 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

I'm a bit surprised that Petty would be upset about this, considering what he told Rolling Stone about the Red Hot Chili Peppers song that sounded similar to one of theirs:

RS: Have you heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Dani California"ť yet, because obviously it sounds a lot like "Mary Jane's Last Dance"?
Petty: Yes, I have. Everyone everywhere is stopping me. The truth is, I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock & roll songs sound alike. Ask Chuck Berry. The Strokes took "merican Girl"[for their song "Last Nite"ť], and I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, "OK, good for you."ť It doesn't bother me.


RS: There have been news reports that you were going to sue the Chili Peppers.
Petty: If someone took my song note for note and stole it maliciously, then maybe. But I don't believe in lawsuits much. I think there are enough frivolous lawsuits in this country without people fighting over pop songs.
I wonder if it was Lynne that pushed for this more than Petty.
Old 01-26-15, 06:51 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Yeah, I know both songs but this never occurred to me. There are only so many note-rhythm combinations, and it seems like there are a lot worse plagiarism candidates out there.
Old 01-26-15, 07:36 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

I'm sure Tom Petty doesn't give a shit. Sure, he's getting paid now but doubt he would have pushed the issue.
Old 01-26-15, 08:08 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

The RHCP and Strokes songs were songs that had undeniable similarities but still sounded like different songs. Smith copped the vocal melody of the verse and repurposed it as his chorus. In tbe most basic terms it's like the difference between sampling a song and covering it. You could sing along with "Last Night" but with the words to "American Girl" and they melody wouldn't really match up which is more than you can say about "Dani California" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance" (though again, there is an undeniable similarity) but Petty's verse could literally substitute Smith's song's chorus and maintain its melody and be 100% recognizable.

Of course there are two very substantial differences here: Smith's song is one of the biggest hits of the year and the other two weren't, and those two songs were solo Pettu compositions whereas this one was cowritten by Jeff Lynne. Its entirely possibly that Lynne or someone in his camp was more anxious to pursue this one.

And for what it's worth, I recognized it as a Petty ripoff the first time I heard it. I knew nothing of the song. Had never heard of Smith. But it was immediately recognizable.
Old 01-26-15, 08:26 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

First time I heard "Stay with Me" I thought it sounded like a Tom Petty song.

Though it's not uncommon for me to hear new songs that remind me of old songs.
Old 01-26-15, 10:00 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

The Rolling Stones did the same thing - amicable giving songwriting credit to k.d. lang when their new song bore a striking resemblance to "Constant Craving". She got a credit on the album because the deal was finalized before the single was even released. It's a much better solution than legal battles when there's little doubt of similarities. Compare the mjor publicity hit George Harrison or the Bee Gees took when they lost a plagiarism lawsuit (or the PR nightmare that Robin Thicke faces now) to what happened with the Stones in that case.
Old 01-26-15, 10:09 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Ooh, interesting thing here : "Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)" is nominated for both Record of the Year (which is essentially the award for best single) and Song of the Year (which is a songwriting award) for next month's Grammy Awards. I suppose if it wins Song of the Year, Tom Petty wins the award as well.

As of now, the nomination reads :
Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)
James Napier, William Phillips & Sam Smith, songwriters (Sam Smith)
Label: Capitol Records; Publishers: Sony/ATV Songs LLC obo Naughty Words Ltd./Universal-Polygram Int. Tunes, Inc. obo Method Paperwork

I wonder what the Grammys do about that. I also wonder if the timing of this settlement is in part to give Petty a chance at his first major Grammy Award.

On the other hand, it's also possible that by the rules of Song of the Year criteria the song may no longer be eligible for the award if it's based on a previously released song. Will need to check Google on that

Last edited by Decker; 01-26-15 at 10:15 PM.
Old 01-26-15, 10:19 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

...And here's the answer :

Tom Petty Won't Win a Grammy for Sam Smith's 'Stay With Me'

The Recording Academy tells Billboard that 'I Won't Back Down' writers Petty & Jeff Lynne aren't considered nominees since they didn't do any 'new writing' on the song.

How will the news of Sam Smith giving Tom Petty co-writing credit on the smash hit "Stay With Me" impact the upcoming Grammy Awards? As it turns out, only a little bit -- but certainly enough to make awards analysts take note.

Smith is currently in the running for six Grammy Awards, including song of the year for "Stay With Me." That particular category recognizes the songwriters of a track, and the song's nominated writers (as announced in December) are Smith, James Napier and William Phillips.

Petty and Jeff Lynne were recently given co-writing credits on "Stay With Me," after Smith "acknowledged the similarity" between it and Petty's 1989 song "I Won't Back Down" (written by Petty and Lynne).

So Billboard reached out to the Recording Academy to inquire if Petty and Lynne would be added as nominees for "Stay With Me."

"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,'" says Bill Freimuth, the Recording Academy's 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."

Smith's representative earlier told Billboard: "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."

Lastly, the "Stay With Me" songwriting switcheroo news came too late to impact Grammy Awards voting, as final ballots were due on Jan. 16. The awards will be given out in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, where Smith is scheduled to perform during the show's CBS broadcast.

Old 01-26-15, 10:59 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Didn't Mick Jagger and Keith Richards get nominated for a grammy for the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony?"
Old 01-26-15, 11:24 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Yes they were for Best Rock Song in 1999. But the rules have changed since then, I think.

o/t : Bruce Springsteen won this award in 2009 for "Girls in their Summer Clothes"? What the fuck is wrong with these voters?
Old 01-26-15, 11:32 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Originally Posted by auto
I'm sure Tom Petty doesn't give a shit. Sure, he's getting paid now but doubt he would have pushed the issue.
Yeah, as far as I know, he's not the type to be this petty.
Old 01-27-15, 12:08 AM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

That makes sense, otherwise anytime Kanye won a grammy, 60 other people would also simultaneously win them.
Old 01-27-15, 12:19 AM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

The latest Decemberists' album I believe steals a short melody from Beck's Sea Change.
Old 01-27-15, 12:25 AM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

I totally didn't hear any similarity until I listened to that youtube video and I'm a huge Tom Petty fan. Next to Gov't Mule before the death of Allan Woody his is the best show I've ever been to.
Old 01-27-15, 07:39 AM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Originally Posted by danfindlay
I totally didn't hear any similarity until I listened to that youtube video and I'm a huge Tom Petty fan.
Not a massive Petty fan, but I've seen him live and enjoy his music, but that youtube video definitely shows the similarities, so I get it now.
Old 01-27-15, 06:56 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

I am a kind of a massive Petty fan and didn't really put my finger on the similarities. Stay With Me sounded kinda familiar, but I didn't exactly know why. Nothing like Dani California/ Last Dance With Mary Jane anyway.

I still think that another Best Song Nomineee this year - Take Me To Church by Hozier sounds more like an Elton John song (kind of a mix of Take Me To The Pilot and Burn Down The Mission) than Stay With Me sounds like a Tom Petty song.
Old 01-27-15, 07:22 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Shit, if this is considered musical plagiarism, Lenny Kravitz and Led Zeppelin should be broke and in jail for grand theft.
Old 01-27-15, 07:37 PM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Does this set precedence for everyone to sue and bankrupt Green Day?
Old 01-28-15, 12:16 AM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

What a bunch of shit. Since when did using certain chord progressions become the property of just one artist? Was there not a mash-up going around not long ago of a bunch of identical-sounding country songs? Are all those artists going to sue each other? I've always had a standing "fuck Jeff Lynne" because I just generally can't stand him, his music, and the fact that he makes every artist he produces sound exactly like him...but if Tom Petty is really as much behind this as Lynne, then fuck Tom Petty, too.
Old 01-28-15, 12:57 AM
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Re: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

Originally Posted by van der graaf
Shit, if this is considered musical plagiarism, Lenny Kravitz and Led Zeppelin should be broke and in jail for grand theft.
Zeppelin has been sued a number of times. I think they have settled out of court since they are so wealthy.

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