Sam Smith credits Tom Petty for his hit Stay With Me, admits "coincidental" similarities

Sam Smith has agreed to credit Tom Petty as an author of his Grammy-nominated hit Stay With Me after acknowledging similarities - which he insists are coincidental - to Petty's I Won't Back Down. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 
Sam Smith has agreed to credit Tom Petty as an author of his Grammy-nominated hit Stay With Me after acknowledging similarities - which he insists are coincidental - to Petty's I Won't Back Down. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

NEW YORK (AFP) - Sam Smith has agreed to credit Tom Petty as an author of his Grammy-nominated hit Stay With Me after acknowledging similarities - which he insists are coincidental - to Petty's I Won't Back Down.

Representatives for the British singer - whose soulful ballad about a one-night stand has sent his career soaring since its release in April - said they had been contacted by Petty's side over resemblances to his 1989 song.

"Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement," Smith's representatives said in a statement.

Stay With Me now lists as co-writers Petty and Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne, who worked with Petty on I Won't Back Down, along with Smith and his collaborators James Napier and William Phillips.

While details were not disclosed, songwriting credits would entitle Petty and Lynne to proceeds from Stay With Me, which was one of the top-selling singles last year.

Smith, Beyonce and Pharrell Williams tied for the most nominations, six, for the Grammy Awards. The ceremony will be held on Feb 8.

I Won't Back Down appeared on Petty's commercially successful 1989 album Full Moon River, the Americana rocker's first solo work without his backing band The Heartbreakers.

With its theme of defiance, I Won't Back Down found a resurgence in popularity in the United States after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks and has been a favourite song for political candidates, although Petty stopped then presidential candidate George W. Bush from playing it in his 2000 campaign.

Representatives for Smith, who was born in 1992, said he had not been familiar with the song.