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Sam Smith agrees to pay Tom Petty royalties

In a move that likely has been orchestrated to avoid a big legal battle, popular British singer Sam Smith has agreed to shell out royalties to songwriters Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne for Smith’s hit single, “Stay With Me.”

The song was first released in April of last year, the third single from his album “In The Lonely Hour.” That CD was a big hit, having reached No. 2 on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart.

One problem: The song sounds way too much like Petty’s tune “I Won’t Back Down,” from his 1989 album “Full Moon Fever.”

So, Petty and Lynne will now be given a writing credit for the “In The Lonely Hour” track, which also just happens to be up for best pop performance and record of the year at the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards.