This Song Sounds Like That Song

Sam Smith Does the Right Thing by Acknowledging Tom Petty Hit

You know how sometimes one song will remind you of another one? Not in an arrogant “it was so much better when so-and-so did it” way. Just like little nuances here and there that make you think of an old familiar tune.

Well, that’s what happened recently with Tom Petty and Sam Smith.

Smith’s crazy-popular “Stay With Me” reminded many of Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” from 26 years ago. And while Smith maintains he’d never heard of the oldie, he agreed in a settlement to share 25 percent of his songwriting royalties with Petty and co-writer Jeff Lynn.

According to USA Today, the statement from Smith’s representative said, “Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement.”

These things happen from time to time, and a prime example is the late George Harrison’s post-Beatles solo hit, “My Sweet Lord.” He apparently thought he had an original melody and chord progression, but he’d actually borrowed those elements from “He’s So Fine,” an early ‘60s hit by the Chiffons.

I remember when Miranda Lambert went through a similar situation about 10 years ago. Her hit song “Kerosene” sounded, to some, kind of like Steve Earle‘s “I Feel Alright.”

When it was brought to her attention, Lambert immediately did the right thing. She added Earle’s name as a co-writer, gave him a share of the royalties and admitted that she unconsciously copied it almost exactly.

“I guess I’d listened to it so much that I just kind of had it in there,” she told No Depression magazine in 2007.

Are there any other songs out now that remind you of older ones?

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.