Tom Petty has addressed the recent news that he and frequent collaborator Jeff Lynne have received songwriting credit on Sam Smith’s hit “Stay With Me.” In a statement to Billboard, the rock legend praises Smith for quickly addressing what he calls a “musical accident” — i.e., the similarities between “Stay” and his hit “I Won’t Back Down.”
Petty also strongly denies the scattered reports that the songwriting snafu ever inspired legal action. Petty’s full statement says: “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.
As previously reported, Petty's team noticed similarities between “Stay With Me” and “I Won’t Back Down” and reached out to Smith’s representatives. Seemingly without drama, the young Brit granted Petty and Lynne, of Electric Light Orchestra, credit for writing the track. Smith’s rep earlier 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.”