The Doors, Peter Frampton & more pay tribute to Jim Ladd, inspiration for Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ”

The music world is paying tribute to veteran Los Angeles rock DJ Jim Ladd, who passed away December 17 at the age of 75. The news was confirmed by Sirius XM, where Ladd hosted a show on their Deep Tracks channel. 

Ladd was the inspiration behind Tom Petty’s 2002 track “The Last DJ,” and the late rocker’s Instagram page shared a tribute: “Tom respected and admired Jim Ladd and considered him a friend.” It added that Ladd’s “insights into rock and roll were priceless.” 

The Doors also paid tribute to Ladd, with John Densmore sharing, “There wasn’t a more soulful spinner of music. The songs he played were running through his blood, he cared so much for rock n’ roll.” Robby Keiger added, “He was the best friend in radio The Doors ever had.” 

And Peter Frampton called Ladd a “good friend” and “a champion of great music,” describing him as a “special man with a huge passion for music.”

In other tributes, Steve Van Zandt called Ladd’s passing a “huge loss,” while Grace Slick noted that Ladd’s “curiosity and care could be felt in each of his broadcasts.” Stephen Stills said talking to Ladd “was always a pleasure,” while George Thorogood & The Destroyers wrote they were “deeply saddened” to hear about Ladd’s passing, noting, “You are already missed.”

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