3 Songs You Didn’t Know Sampled Tom Petty—Including Sam Smith and Lana Del Rey

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Tom Petty’s music is known around the world.

With hits like “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Free Fallin'” and “I Won’t Back Down,” his work will remain in the popular music ether for generations to come.

American Songwriter is taking a look at one particular way those songs have influenced popular culture by showing which of those songs were sampled by other artists, from Sam Smith to Lana Del Rey.

1. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

Sampled “I Won’t Back Down

From Smith’s debut studio album, In the Lonely Hour, from 2014, “Stay With Me” displays Smith’s impeccable singing voice. The gospel-inspired song touches on the singer’s one-night stand and the singer’s hope that the person will stay, and stick around.

The song was written by Smith, James Napier, and William Phillips, and later Petty and collaborator Jeff Lynn received co-writer credits due to the song’s melodic similarity to “I Won’t Back Down,” which is perhaps Petty’s most famous song. The track remains Smith’s most successful single to date, hitting No. 1 in the U.K. singles chart.

The settlement between Smith and Petty was arrived at in January 2015. Petty and Lynne receive 12.5% songwriting credit on the track. According to reports, Petty’s publisher contacted Smith’s team after it noticed a resemblance between “Stay with Me” and the melody of Petty’s 1989 hit. Petty did not think Smith intentionally plagiarized him. In a blog post, Petty wrote, “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. Sam’s people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement.”

According to Smith, they had never heard “I Won’t Back Down” prior to writing “Stay with Me.” But while they did acknowledge a resemblance, Smith called it a “complete coincidence.”

2. “American” by Lana Del Rey

Sampled “Mary Jane’s Last Dance

Lana Del Rey’s dreamy pop songs are an exploration of nostalgia, wistful emotions, forlorn feelings, and contemporary culture. Whether she’s singing about video games or any other topic, she offers her sepia sensibilities. And on her 2012 song, “American,” that remains the case.

The track was the second song to drop from her third studio EP, Paradise. It was co-written with Rick Nowels and Emile Haynie. And the track references many artists to come before Del Rey, including Bruce Springsteen and Elvis.

But there is also a reference and nod to one of Petty’s lyrics in the track, when Del Rey sings, “Hell yes, honey, put on that party dress.”

3. “Good Morning,” by Chamillionaire

Sampled “Free Fallin’

The first official single from the Houston, Texas rapper’s studio album, Venom, “Good Morning” was produced by DJ Frank E and was released digitally on October 13, 2009. It peaked at No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. The beat instrumental for the track includes a sample of the very recognizable acoustic song by Petty, “Free Fallin'” that comes into the listener’s ears immediately. In addition, fellow Houston rapper Pimp C later sampled “Free Fallin'” on his post-incarceration album, Pimpalation. Check out the Chamillionaire song below.

Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images

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