The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place Saturday night in Cleveland, with Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe all being honored at the event.
Bon Jovi were inducted by the “King of All Media” Howard Stern, who spent much of his induction speech roasting the band and making jokes about the Hall, while also praising his friends’ music. Bon Jovi reunited with estranged guitarist Richie Sambora for the event, who parted ways with the band a few years back, for performances of some of their biggest hits, as well as recent single “When We Were Us.”
Brandon Flowers of The Killers pulled double duty during the show, opening the night by paying tribute to the late Tom Petty with a cover of “American Girl” and later inducting The Cars. The Pop-Rockers had been eligible for the Rock Hall since 2004. The Cars played just a few of their many, many hits, with Scott Shriner of Weezer filling in on bass for the late Benjamin Orr, who passed away in 2000.
Dire Straits also went into the Hall this year, though frontman Mark Knopfler declined to be a part of the ceremony and no one was ever picked to actually induct the band. Instead, the group was represented by bassist John Illsley and keyboardists Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher, inducting themselves.
The Moody Blues were inducted by Ann Wilson of Heart and finally made it into the Hall, having been eligible since 1990. The band played an eclectic medley of their songs, culminating in their biggest hit “Nights in White Satin.” Surprisingly, this performance ended the entire night on a mellow moment, rather than the traditional all-star jam session that has concluded most Rock Hall ceremonies.
The late Nina Simone was honored by Mary J. Blige, who paid tribute to the influential singer’s career and catalog of soul, jazz, blues and spiritual songs, as well as her deep connections to the Civil Rights movement. Andra Day and Lauryn Hill performed a number of Simone’s songs and covers associated with the singer.
Alabama Shakes front woman Brittany Howard inducted the late groundbreaking gospel artist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Howard teamed with Questlove, Paul Shaffer and others to cover Tharpe’s “That’s All” and “Strange Things Happening Every Day.”
Additionally, the ceremony paid tribute to the late Chris Cornell, who passed away in 2017. Cornell’s friend Ann Wilson and Alice in Chains guitarist/singer Jerry Cantrell played “Black Hole Sun” as a duo.