Sam Smith released his hit song “Stay With Me” in April 2014. It was one of the most successful singles of the year. Lots of people in the industry thought it sounded familiar – including rocker Tom Petty. “Stay With Me” has a distinct resemblance to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down.” Petty’s lawyers sort of mentioned it to Smith’s lawyers.
In October, Smith and Petty settled out of court. Petty and his buddy Jeff Lynne got a 12.5% writing credit on ASCAP. (The others are Sam Smith, William Edward Phillips and Jimmy Napes.) A source close to the case said, “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.”