Petty accused of song theft
From page 6 of Classic Rock Magazine Christmas 2004
Tom slams ‘The Last DJ’ accusations.
A CASE “COMPLETELY WITHOUT MERIT” IS WHAT TOM Petty calls a $4.5 million lawsuit that alleges he stole a song from a Californian composer.
Jim Wagner claims to have sent a demo of a self-composed song called ‘The Last Great Radio DJ’ to KLOS DJ Jim Ladd in 2000, two years before veteran singer/songwriter Petty recorded ‘The Last DJ’ for his album of the same name. Ladd is also indicted in the suit, implying that he passed the song on to Petty.
“It’s a total falsehood,” fumes Petty. “Nothing like that took place. I write my own music. If I collaborate, I always share the credit. It’s been like that since I began writing 30 years ago. It’ll always be that way.” The Petty-Wagner furore is just the latest of its kind. Two decades of litigation surrounded the George Harrison song ‘My Sweet Lord’, which had similarities to The Chiffons’ hit ‘He’s So Fine’ from 1963. Harrison eventually lost the case.