The Cars were back together again on the weekend for one final time – to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Original members Ric Ocasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson performed after an introduction from Brandon Flowers of The Killers. “The Cars were the first band that I truly fell in love with, and you never forget your first,” he said.
Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday (April 15) night in Cleveland.
The Killers opened the show with a tribute to Tom Petty before Howard Stern took the stage to induct Bon Jovi, including a number of digs at Hall CEO Jann Wenner. “Another sign of the zombie apocalypse. Jann Wenner finally let Bon Jovi into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Jann required years of pondering to decide if this glorious band that sold over 130 million albums deserved to be in the Rock and Roll and Roll Hall of Fame”. He also didn’t let Jon Bon Jovi go unscathed, saying “Yes, a man who single handedly destroyed most of the ozone in the 80s with Aqua Net hair spray.”
Jon Bon Jovi gave a very long 20-minute acceptance speech with the ceremony being an hour old before the band played their first song, “You Give Love a Bad Name” with Richie Sambora and Alec John Such.
Dire Straits was up next and made the unusual decision to only have an Intro video and nobody to talk for them before acceptance speeches by John Illsley, Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe had a very short introduction by Britney Howard of Alabama Shakes before she took the stage with Felicia Collins of The World’s Most Dangerous Band singing two of Tharpe’s songs with help from Questlove of the Roots and Paul Shaffer.
While the In Memoriam presentation was nowhere near as depressing as last year with all of 2016’s major losses, but did include Tom Petty and Chris Cornell among the names with Ann Wilson taking the stage to sing his “Black Hole Sun”.
Up next was Steven Van Zandt who introduced a new category, the “Hall of Fame Singles”, inducting:
“Rocket 88” – Jackie Breston & His Delta Cats
“Rumble” – Link Ray and His Ray Men
“Louie Louie” – Kingsmen
“A Whiter Shade of Pale” – Procol Harum
“Born to Be Wild” – Steppenwolf
Mary J. Blige told to crowd to buckle in for a long speech inducting Nina Simone because “I’m here for the Queen tonight.” “Her voice was so distinctive and warm and powerful, I never heard anything like it.”
Blige also noted the number of hip-hop artists who sampled Simone’s recordings followed by Nina’s brother, Sam Waymone, telling the crowd “If you’re sampling her music, you’d better pay for it. Pay her. Don’t steal from her. She never stole from anybody.”
Andra Day opened the performances for Simone but it was a four song set by Lauryn Hill that brought down the house with some calling it the greatest performance in Rock Hall history.
Ann Wilson presented for the final inductees, The Moody Blues saying they “always have been, a kick-ass rock band.” Earlier in the evening at a pre-show press conference, Wilson talked about how the band was the first that drew her to music. A four song set by the band closed the ceremony with, for the first time in years, no closing jam.
The events of the Hall of Fame induction:
“American Girl” / “Free Fallin'” – The Killers (tribute to Tom Petty)
Induction of Bon Jovi
Presentation by Howard Stern
“You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi
“It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi
“When We Were Us” – Bon Jovi
“Livin’ on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi
Induction of Dire Straits
Intro video only (no presenter)
Induction of Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Presentation by Britney Howard
“That’s All” – Britney Howard
“Strange Things Happening Every Day” – Felicia Collins
Induction of The Cars
Presentation by Brandon Flowers
“My Best Friend’s Girl” – The Cars
“You Might Think” – The Cars
“Moving in Stereo” – The Cars
“Just What I Needed” – The Cars
“Black Hole Sun” – Ann Wilson & Jerry Cantrell (for Chris Cornell)
Hall of Fame Singles
Presentation by Steven Van Zandt
Induction of Nina Simone
Presentation by Mary J. Blige
Acceptance by Simone’s brother, Sam Waymon
“I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” – Andra Day
“I Put a Spell on You” – Andra Day
“Ne me quitte pas” – Lauryn Hill
“Black is the Color” – Lauryn Hill
“I Got Life” – Lauryn Hill
“Feeling Good” – Lauryn Hill
Induction of the Moody Blues
Presentation by Ann Wilson
“I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” – Moody Blues
“Your Wildest Dreams” – Moody Blues
“Nights in White Satin” – Moody Blues
“Ride My See-Saw” – Moody Blues