As previously reported, Sam Smith has given co-songwriting credits of his hit song “Stay With Me” to Tom Petty and ELO’s Jeff Lynne. The concession came after similarities between the song’s chorus and that of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Full Moon Fever classic “I Won’t Back Down” were noticed by the older song’s publishers. Though Smith maintains “the likeness was a complete coincidence,” the parties amicably settled out of court, with Petty and Lynne gaining a 12.5% writing credit.
The question that arises from the settlement is whether or not the newly added co-writers would receive golden gramophones should “Stay With Me” win the 2015 Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance and Record of the Year. Well, the Senior Vice President of Awards for the Grammys, Bill Freimuth, has now provided an answer to the Wall Street Journal. In short: No, but they wouldn’t walk away empty handed.
“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’,” Freimuth said. “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.”
So there it is: How to be credited with writing a song, but not receive any awards it wins.