Bob Dylan’s Son Didn’t Think He Was the Right Person to Induct Tom Petty Into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Bob Dylan’s son Jakob spent a significant amount of time around Tom Petty when he toured with Dylan in the 1980s. From that point on, he looked up to Petty, and they remained close for years. When Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, they wanted Jakob to give the induction speech. He wasn’t sure that he was the right person for the job. 

Bob Dylan's son Jakob plays the guitar and stands in front of a microphone.
Jakob Dylan | Michael Kovac/WireImage

Bob Dylan’s son watched Tom Petty perform with his father

Petty and the Heartbreakers toured with Dylan for roughly two years, and Jakob watched many of their performances. 

“I used to sit with Bugs [Weidel, Petty’s longtime friend]. By the amplifiers,” Jakob told Warren Zanes for the book Petty: The Biography. “Soaking it up, learning as much as I could. I couldn’t have asked for much more at sixteen years old than to watch those guys play every night.”

When Petty’s two daughters also watched, Dylan remembered being in awe of them solely because they had Petty for a father.

“On that tour, [Tom] had his two daughters there,” he said. “And I remember sitting there with his daughters, I remember thinking, ‘Jesus, your dad is Tom Petty.'”

Bob Dylan’s son wasn’t sure if he should induct Tom Petty into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

In 2002, Jakob inducted the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. When he first learned that the group wanted him to give the speech, he felt uncertain.

“[Tony Dimitriades] asked me that,” Jakob explained, “said my name had come up. And, honestly, I was kind of taken aback. To go to a room like that and induct someone into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? I was concerned that maybe I wasn’t the right person.”

Jakob asked who else was an option to induct the band, as he thought there might be a better person for the job.

“He tells me, ‘You’re the only choice.’ He wasn’t going to let me off the hook,” Dylan said. “Then he said, ‘You know, Jakob, if you want to be one of those guys, like the ones you really admire, these are the kinds of things you’ve got to do.’ He was right.” 

Jakob realized that if Petty was asking him to do this, he was the right person for the job. He would later induct them into the Hall of Fame. 

He admired the older musician

Jakob said that he looked up to Petty because of how much he valued music. He never let his fame go to his head. 

He lacked arrogance,” he told The Sun. “I’m sorry to say it but some people from that generation are a**holes. They’re competitive, they’re not comfortable and there’s bitterness but not Tom. He was never punishing. He let me share the stage with him and he let me interview him for [the documentary] Echo In The Canyon. In the film, he spoke about music with pure, thrilling enjoyment.”

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