Likeness between ‘Stay With Me’ and Tom Petty song is ‘coincidence’, says Sam Smith’s rep

British pop star reached 'amicable' settlement with Petty and co-writer Jeff Lynne

A representative for Sam Smith says the likeness between Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’ and Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’ is a “complete coincidence”.

Though details have just come to light, the respective publishers settled out of court in October. The song’s credit on ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) now lists Petty (pictured) and Lynne alongside Smith and his co-writers Jimmy Napier and William Phillips as the chief songwriters.

A statement from Smith’s representatives issued to NME reads: “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.”

Stream both songs below, now.