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Tom Petty says he never threatened to sue Sam Smith and has no hard feelings towards him

2015-01-30 20:00

New York - Rocker Tom Petty says he never threatened to sue Sam Smith over his smash hit Stay With Me and agreed that similarities to his own I Won't Back Down were coincidence.

Smith, the 22-year-old British singer who is tied for the most nominations at the 8 February Grammys thanks to the success of Stay With Me, recently added Petty to the list of songwriters.

Petty concurred with Smith's account that the two sides reached a quick agreement after the American rocker contacted the younger star.

"Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam," Petty said in a statement on Thursday.

"All 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," he said.

"The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention," he said, wishing Smith "all the best for his ongoing career".

The comment was the first on the matter by Petty, who indicated that he had not wanted the issue to get into the press.

The two sides were silent on whether Petty and his collaborator Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra, who was also added to the songwriting credits, would now enjoy proceeds from Stay With Me.

Stay With Me, a soulful ballad about a one-night stand, has sent Smith's career soaring since its release in April.

The vocal melody in Stay With Me is highly similar to that in I Won't Back Down, which appeared on Petty's 1989 album Full Moon Fever, his first without his backup band The Heartbreakers.

I Won't Back Down - with its theme of defiance - found a resurgence in popularity in the United States after the 11 September 2001 attacks and has been a favourite song for political candidates, although Petty stopped then presidential candidate George W Bush from playing it in his 2000 campaign.

Smith was born in 1992 and his representatives said he had not been familiar with the song.

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