The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place Saturday in Cleveland, with Bon Jovi, The Cars, The Moody Blues, Dire Straits, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe all now officially members of the prestigious institution.
Among the ceremony highlights:
- The Killers opened with a tribute to the late Tom Petty, performing “American Girl” and a bit of “Free Fallin’.”
- Bon Jovi was inducted by Howard Stern, whose speech, not surprisingly, was filled with penis and fart jokes. Commenting on the band’s huge record sales, he cracked, “It took years of pondering to decide that this glorious band that sold 130 million albums [should be let] in.”
- Jon Bon Jovi spoke for a whopping 20 minutes, and joked about the length of time it took the band to get in. “I've been writing this speech many days, in many ways -- some days, it's the thank you speech, some days the f--- you speech," he said. "Writing it has been therapeutic in a lot of ways. I certainly see things differently tonight than I would have 10, 20, 30 years ago. In the end, it’s really all about time.” Richie Sambora, who reunited with the band added, “If I wrote a book, it would be [called] ‘The Best Time I Ever Had.’” The band, along with original bassist Alec John Such, also took the stage together, performing their hits “ You Give Love a Bad Name," "It's My Life," and "Livin' on a Prayer,” as well as “When We Were Us" from last year's “This House Is Not for Sale.”
- In an odd moment of the evening, no one was chosen to induct Dire Straits into the HOF so after the customary video montage, bassist and co-founder John Illsley did the honors himself, and then addressed Mark Knopfler’s decision to skip the ceremony. "I can assure you, it's just a personal thing," he said, "It's for personal reasons, let's just leave it at that.” He added, “You've got to realize this is really more about a group of people more than one person. It's a collective, a brotherhood, and that's something that needs acknowledging tonight.” Without Mark the band did not perform at the event.
- Killers frontman Brandon Flowers inducted The Cars, sharing, “The Cars were the first band I truly fell in love with, and you never forget your first.” In their speeches, the band spent much of their time acknowledging their late bassist/singer Benjamin Orr, with Rick Ocasek noting, “Obviously it's hard not to notice that Benjamin Orr is not here. He would've been elated to be here on this stage. It still feels strange to be up here without him." The band then took the stage, along with Weezer’s Scott Shriner on bass, and performed such hits as “My Best Friend's Girl," "You Might Think," "Moving in Stereo" and "Just What I Needed."
- The late Nina Simone was honored with a performance that featured appearances by The Roots, Andra Day and surprise guest Lauryn Hill. Andra and The Roots performed “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free and “I Put A Spell On You,” while Hill blew everyone away with performances of “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair, ” “Ain’t Got No, I Got Life” and “Feeling Good."
- Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Murphy inducted Sister Rosetta Tharpeas this year's Early Influence inductee, calling her "the godmother of rock 'n' roll.” She then performed “That's All.”
- While Petty was remembered at the beginning of the show, the ceremony did take time out for their usual In Memoriam section, which included Heart’s Ann Wilson and Alice in Chain’s Jerry Cantrellpaying tribute to Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell with a performance of “Black Hole Sun.”
- The evening ended with the induction of the Moody Blues, which was handled by Wilson, who noted, “The Moody Blues are and always have been a kick-ass rock 'n' roll band.” Member John Lodge thanked the fans, sharing “This is your Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” while Justin Hayward added, “To be celebrated even in the same street, in the same building, even in the same town as Buddy Holly and the EverlyBrothers, with the woman who showed us how it all should be done, Nina Simone…it’s a privilege. It means a lot to me.” They then closed the show with a performance of “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band),” “Nights in White Satin” and “Ride My See Saw.”
The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air May 5th on HBO.