When listening to Sam Smith‘s song “Stay With Me,” a lot of people thought the song reminded them of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” Apparently, Sam Smith realized this and, according to the New York Daily News, has paid Tom Petty for basically copying the song almost note-for-note.
“On Monday, news broke that Smith had agreed to settle out of court with Petty (and co-writer Jeff Lynne), after acknowledging the similarity between the two hits. But he did so with a qualification. Smith asserted that neither he, nor his song-writing partners, could remember ever hearing Petty’s 26-year-old smash.”
Sam Smith isn’t the first artist accused of taking a song, copying it virtually note for note, and trying to sell it to a new generation. Lady Gaga faced similar controversy when she plagiarized Madonna’s 1989 hit “Express Yourself” into “Born This Way,” a song she declared as a gay anthem for the ages. Unlike Sam Smith, Lady Gaga didn’t pay for the plagiarism and insisted the comparisons were “retarded,” according to Gawker.
“No. Listen to me. Why the f**k? I’m a songwriter…Why would I try to put out a song and think I’m getting one over on everybody? That’s retarded. If you put the songs next to each other, side by side, the only similarities are the chord progression. It’s the same on that’s been in disco music for the last 50 years. Just because I’m the first f**king artist in 25 years to think of putting it on Top 40 radio, it doesn’t mean I’m a plagiarist. It means I’m f**king smart. Sorry.”
Like Lady Gaga, Sam Smith’s controversial song is nominated at the 2015 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and other categories. Sam Smith has earned the heart of critics, but not Howard Stern. According to USA Today, Stern had some harsh comments for Sam Smith.
“You know what I like about the guy? He’s an ugly (expletive). He’s fat…. Is he gay? He looks gay to me, not that anybody looks gay, but he does seem effeminate…. I like that he’s chubby and gay.”
Howard Stern faced a huge backlash over his comments, which some deemed homophobic in a year where gay artists are starting to rule the music industry. Sam Smith has had amazing commercial and critical success in 2014.
Do you think Smith plagiarized Tom Petty? More importantly, do you think Sam Smith should have paid off Tom Petty? Tell us in the comments section.
[Photo Credit: Vibe]