Which modern pop megahit owes its chorus to Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne?

They might both be well into their sixties, but Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty clearly know how to write a melody that resonates with today’s music fan.

When putting together MBW’s look at the songwriters behind 2014’s biggest hits, we noticed that two names – on one track – stood out more than any other.

The number in question was Sam Smith’s Stay With Me; a triple Grammy nominee and one of only three songs in 2014’s Top 10 bestsellers list in the US, the UK and Australia.

In amongst its writer credits sit two bona fide melodic rock legends: Smith/Napier/Phillips/Lynne/Petty.

Turns out that the chorus to pop megahit Stay With Me officially borrows some of its catchiness from I Won’t Back Down (1989) by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – co-written by Petty and Jeff Lynne.

Although the veteran duo didn’t initially appear on the writer notes of Smith’s track, sources tell MBW that Petty and Lynne have each been credited with 12.5% of the song since October last year.

Have a listen for yourself to both tracks below.

Spot the melodic similarity between Petty’s verse (‘No I won’t back down/No I won’t back down’) and Smith’s chorus (‘Oh won’t you stay with me/ ‘Cos you’re all I need’)?

We’re told that Smith’s camp nobly held their hands up when the inspirational value of Petty’s original was pointed out.

It’s important to reiterate that the other 75% of the song is still very much the work of Smith and his co-writers Jimmy Napes and William Phillips. And that voice is all Smith’s, of course.

Plus, it’s not as if Smith himself can’t appreciate the concept that a songwriter’s work can be enhanced by new interpretations.

Witness this majestic recent collision of Smith’s I’m Not The Only One and Kanye West’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing, in the hands of mash-up maestro Carlos Serrano.

Music Business Worldwide

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