My apologies to Ear of Newt for "sampling" that fine headline.
As reported by the Straight and elsewhere, Tom Petty and Sam Smith reached an out-of-court settlement over the similarities between the former's "Won't Back Down" and the latter's "Stay With Me".
That got me thinkin' (as Steve Newton might say). Back in 2001, the Strokes released a song called "Last Nite". A few folks noted that the opening groove and guitar riff sounded an awful lot like "American Girl", a track from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' eponymous 1976 debut LP. One of those who heard the similarity was Petty himself, who told Rolling Stone in 2006: "The Strokes took 'American Girl' [for 'Last Nite'], there was an interview that took place with them where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, 'OK, good for you.' It doesn't bother me."
See? Not too worried. However, seeing as how Petty had no problem taking some of Smith's money (and a writing credit) for "Stay With Me", you've got to wonder if the Strokes funnelled some scratch Petty's way to keep the matter out of the courts.
Here are both songs, for the sake of comparison. Interesting to note: the video for "Last Nite" actually features the Strokes playing live, and even if you've seen it dozens of times, you might not have noticed that Julian Casablancas doesn't blink. Not even once. I'm not even going to speculate as to why that might be. But it creeped me out a bit when I noticed it.