While Smith and his team acknowledged the similarities between “Stay with Me” and Petty’s 1989 song, “I Won’t Back Down,” they said any likeness was a “complete coincidence.”
"Recently the publishers for the song 'I Won't Back Down,' written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, contacted the publishers for 'Stay With Me,' written by Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips, about similarities heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two compositions," Smith’s rep told Rolling Stone. "Not previously familiar with the 1989 Petty/Lynne song, the writers of 'Stay with Me' listened to 'I Won’t Back Down' and acknowledged the similarity."
Smith's rep added, "Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement in which Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now credited as co-writers of 'Stay With Me' along with Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips.”
Still, Petty and Lynne will not be eligible to share in the Grammy, should Smith win for the song.
“Since Lynne and Petty did not do any new writing for this work, we are considering their original work to have been interpolated by Napier, Phillips and Smith for ‘Stay With Me,’” Senior Vice President of Awards Bill Freimuth told the Wall Street Journal. “Lynne and Petty will not be considered nominees nor will they be considered Grammy recipients, should the song win. Rather, they would be given certificates to honor their participation in the work, just as any other writers of sampled or interpolated work.”
Petty's reps haven't yet commented, and Smith's rep has not yet responded to ABC News' request for additional comment. It was unclear if Petty or Lynne will receive royalties from the song.