English singer-songwriter Sam Smith was unquestionably the biggest breakthrough music act of 2014. Since winning both the 2014 Brit Critics’ Choice Award and the BBC’s Sound of 2014 polls, Sam Smith’s popularity soared, and he became a star on both sides of the Atlantic. Sam’s debut album In the Lonely Hour was the only album to sell over one million copies on both sides of the pond.
On the back of his success, Sam Smith has gone on to become a multi-award winner. Smith bagged no less that four Grammy awards and two Brit awards and has no less than 14 nominations in the forthcoming Billboard awards. On the back of such critical acclaim one would be forgiven for thinking that everything is rosy in Sam Smiths garden, but Sam’s recent experiences prove that nothing is ever simple in the music business.
Firstly Smith and his colleagues Ed Sheeran and George Ezra were slammed by the likes of Noel Gallagher and some critics claimed that he was successful because he created safe, bland and frankly boring music.
To add to Smiths woes he was sued by singer Tom Petty, who claimed that his song “Stay With Me” was too similar to Petty’s hit “I Won’t Back Down.” As reported by Rolling Stone Smith had to agree a settlement that gave Petty a co-writing credit and a sizeable cash payment. This despite the fact that Sam Smith claimed he had never even heard Tom Petty’s song.
If Sam Smith thought that settling that lawsuit was the end of his troubles he was wrong. According to TMZ Smith is being sued again over the same song. A songwriter named Mark Halper has filed a lawsuit claiming that “Stay With Me” was ripped off from him. Halper claims that he recorded a demo in 1986 called “Don’t Throw Our Love Away,” Halper claims that his song begins with the words “stay with me.” Halper claims that this phraseology is a “significant phrase,” and that Sam Smiths use of the same phrase represents a breach of copyright.
According to NME Halper is said to be attempting to sue several record labels rather than suing Sam Smith directly. Perhaps bizarrely Halper is also said to be demanding a Grammy Award after Smiths song collected gongs for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in February.
Music Times report that despite their best efforts they have been unable to locate any trace of Halper’s song anywhere. This makes it unlikely that any case against Smith or the record companies could succeed, but claims of plagiarism are likely to damage an artist’s credibility.
What do Inquisitr readers think about these cases? Has Sam Smith set out to rip off other artists work or are any similarities purely coincidental?
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]