Sam Smith just won Best Song and Best Record for “Stay with Me,” his big summer hit. Only one problem: after Grammy voting closed it was revealed that “Stay with Me” was interpolated from Tom Petty’s classic FM hit “I Won’t Back Down,” written with ELO’s Jeff Lynne. Smith and co. said they never heard of Petty’s song. But how is that possible?
Petty and Lynne are now listed as co-writers, and are receiving royalties. The songs are nearly identical, especially in the chorus. But when Smith took the stage, he and his co-writers didn’t mention this. On an otherwise pretty scandal free Grammy night full of good winners, this is a mistake.
Of course, this has happened before– and recently. Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” turned out to be lifted, instrumentally, from a guitar record of Joe Satriani’s. A settlement occurred, and “Viva La Vida” went on to get lots of awards. Crazy.