Friday, January 30, 2015


I was quite surprised to hear how smoothly a settlement was reached between Sam Smith and Tom Petty in regards to the new pop star's hit song sounding very similar to the rocker's 1989 tune. Although Smith and his co-writers, James Napier and William Phillips were not familiar with "I Won't Back Down", the song composed by Petty and co-writer Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra, the trio agreed to add them as writers to last year's smash, "Stay With Me" which earned Sam Smith multiple Grammy nominations. It's pretty amazing how there was no ugly, drawn-out legal battle and the situation was resolved very amicably.

Do they really sound alike? Well, maybe it's just me but I can't really hear it. Here are the two songs together, so listen and judge for yourself:

"Stay With Me" - Sam Smith (2014)  vs.

"I Won't Back Down" - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (1989)

This is hardly the first time this situation of songs sounding similar has arisen. Below are a few famous examples that were eventually settled in court. These cases, I can hear the similarities, (especially Harrison vs. The Chiffons):

The Rolling Stones - "Anybody Seem My Baby" (1997)  vs.

k.d. Lang - "Constant Craving"(1992)

George Harrison - "My Sweet Lord" (1971)  vs.

The Chiffons - "He's So Fine" (1962)


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