Tom Petty calls similarities to Sam Smith's 'Stay with Me' accidental

Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:46pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. rocker Tom Petty on Thursday said it was a "musical accident" that British singer Sam Smith's breakout soul hit "Stay with Me" mirrored Petty's 1989 hit song "I Won't Back Down."

Petty, 64, played down a recent credit given to him and co-writer Jeff Lynne on Smith's Grammy-nominated hit song, saying in a statement posted on his website that he had no hard feelings toward Smith and that "these things happen."

Britain's The Sun newspaper reported over the weekend that Smith had settled a copyright dispute with the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer over the similarity between the two songs.

"Sam's people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement," Petty said in the statement. "The word 'lawsuit' was never even said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said about it."

"A musical accident no more no less," Petty added.

Representatives for Smith have called the agreement amicable and the similarities coincidental.

Smith leads Grammy nominees along with singers Beyonce and Pharrell with six nods. "Stay with Me" earned three nominations for the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards, including song of the year, one of the top prizes.

Petty and Lynne, however, will not be eligible to share in any Grammy wins as their writing was not considered new work, magazine Rolling Stone reported, quoting a Grammy official.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Patricia Reaney, G Crosse)

Musician Tom Petty poses at the 31st annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood, California, April 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni