Tom Petty has broken his silence over the controversy regarding Sam Smith's hit song "Stay With Me" and its similarities to his hit "I Won't Back Down."
In Petty's eyes it was all a case of a "musical accident," though he and co-writer Jeff Lyne will still accept the songwriting credit and accompanying royalties.
"About the Sam Smith thing," Petty said in a statement released today on his official site. "Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam. All of my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by."
Petty also said it surprised him when the royalties issue was revealed but there was no acrimony between both sides.
"Sam's people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement. The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said about it. How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself. Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this. A musical accident no more no less. In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all. Tom Petty."
Some people noticed a similarity between Smith's hit single and Petty's "I Won't Back Down" from his 1989 smash album "Full Moon Fever" (released three years before Smith was born).
Petty and Lynne now receive a co-writing credit alongside Smith, William Phillips and James Napier. On Monday, Jan. 26, a statement by Smith's representatives deemed it a "complete coincidence." Both sides came to an agreement in October with Petty and Lynne each receiving a 12.5 per cent co-writing credit.
Petty is currently off the road after touring last year behind his recent studio album "Hypnotic Eye," his first to reach number one. Meanwhile, Smith will be performing at this year's Grammy Awards on Feb. 8 as "Stay With Me" is nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance.
If Smith wins a Grammy however Petty and Lynne won't receive a Grammy for their songwriting inclusion or be added as nominees. Billboard reports the Recording Academy states since Lynne and Petty "didn't do any new writing for this work, we are considering their original work to have been interpolated by Napier, Phillips and Smith for 'Stay With Me.'" The Recording Academy's senior vice-president Bill Freimuth told the publication Petty and Lynne will be given certificates if Smith wins to "honor their participation in the work, just as any other writers of sampled or interpolated work."
Smith also revealed yesterday he's on the cover of an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone:
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