Tom Petty Gets Writing Credit for Sam Smith Song

Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne have been added as songwriters on Sam Smith‘s “Stay With Me” record. Petty and Lynne earned the songwriting credit after reaching out to Smith’s team, citing “Stay With Me” sounded very similar to Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” song. Smith and the other writers of the song did not drag the process into court, instead they handled the matter quietly and peacefully. A representative from Smith’s camp spoke to Billboard magazine about the ordeal, “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.” The representative continued, “Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement.” The representative concluded, “Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now credited as co-writers of ‘Stay With Me’ along with Sam SmithJames Napier and William Phillips.” 

Sam Smith is nominated for six Grammy Awards this year, including a Song of The Year nomination for “Stay With Me.” Billboard magazine contacted the Recording Academy to find out if Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne will be added as Grammy 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 be interpolated by Napier, Phillips, and Smith for ‘Stay With Me,'” said the Recording Academy’s Senior Vice President for awards, Bill Freimuth. Freimuth added, “Lynne and Petty will not be considered nominees nor will they be considered Grammy recipients, should the song win.” He concluded, “They will be given certificates to honor their participation in the work, just as any other writers of sampled or interpolated work.” Even if Petty and Lynne could be added as songwriters for a Grammy nomination, the Grammy Award ballots were due on January 16th.

“Stay With Me” has sold six million copies worldwide, as it peaked at Number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song also went to Number 1 on the UK Singles Chart. The Grammy Awards will air on February 8th on CBS. Sam Smith, Usher, Madonna, Miranda Lambert, Pharrell Williams, and Ariana Grande are some of the artists scheduled to perform at the awards show.