Forget all that stuff about Tom Petty suing the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Earlier this month the New York Post reported that the remarkable similarities between the Chili Peppers’ “Dani California” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” could turn into a lawsuit. “Tom Petty was made aware of this and is looking into legal ramifications,” the item stated. “The Chili Peppers could be facing a huge plagiarism lawsuit.”
But Petty set the record straight himself in the July 14th issue of Rolling Stone, on newstands today. Here’s an excerpt:
RS: Have you heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Dani California” yet, because obviously it sounds a lot like “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”?
Petty: Yes, I have. Everyone everywhere is stopping me. The truth is, I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock & roll songs sound alike. Ask Chuck Berry. The Strokes took “merican Girl”[for their song “Last Nite”], and I saw an interview 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.
RS: There have been news reports that you were going to sue the Chili Peppers.
Petty: If someone took my song note for note and stole it maliciously, then maybe. But I don’t believe in lawsuits much. I think there are enough frivolous lawsuits in this country without people fighting over pop songs.