Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2018: Our Favorite Moments
The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony had everything we've come to expect from the event. There were reunions, some great performances, funny speeches and plenty of emotional on display from everybody. Keep reading for our favorite moments, which include things we heard in the press room and posted on social media, and photos from Cleveland's Public Auditorium. You'll be able to relive it all when the ceremony is broadcast at 8PM ET on May 5 on HBO.
Bon Jovi's Coolest Reunion Wasn't With Richie Sambora
Richie Sambora took the stage with his old bandmates in Bon Jovi for the first time since 2013. The current incarnation of the band was also joined by original bassist Alec John Such, who left in 1994, creating a distinct two-lead guitar, two-bass lineup. They played "You Give Love a Bad Name," "It's My Life," "When We Were Us" and "Livin' on a Prayer."
If any bad blood lingered between Sambora and the others, it wasn't visible during their performance or acceptance speeches – though there was an uncomfortable moment back stage when Jon Bon Jovi was asked if Sambora might return to the band again.
"I think Richie has a solo career," Bon Jovi said, after a moment of consideration, then turned it over to his former guitarist. Sambora said he'd take part "if [Jon] asks me," and they left it at that.
But that wasn't the best Bon Jovi-related reunion that happened that night. Onstage, Jon Bon Jovi recounted a story about sending his new band's tape to New York’s WAPP, where two guys – John Lassman and DJ Chip Hobart – helped get their songs on the radio. Backstage in the press room, Jon Bon Jovi spotted the pair and invited them to join him as he spoke to the media. “I knew the loneliest man in the world was the DJ, and he was the one that loved music more than anyone," Bon Jovi said. “It was a different era, and it goes back to this kid’s story. That’s a great way to end my night."
Howard Stern Inducts Bon Jovi
True to form, Howard Stern simultaneously praised and mocked Bon Jovi as he inducted them with a profanity-filled speech. He called it both "long overdue" and "another sign of the zombie apocalypse" that "Jann Wenner finally let" them into the Hall. He also led the crowd in a singalong of "Wanted Dead of Alive" before saying "Eat shit, Bob Dylan. Fuck you!"
Stern concluded, however, with a dose of sincerity by praising Bon Jovi's longevity and said, "I really feel blessed to know you and to have been given this honor of inducting you."
Tributes to Those We Lost in 2017
It was an evening of emotional moments, as two rockers who died since last year's ceremony were honored with performances. The evening began with the Killers offering a rousing cover of Tom Petty's American Girl"; they threw in a little bit of "Free Fallin'," too. (Singer Brandon Flowers was on hand to induct the Cars later that night.)
Later, Ann Wilson of Heart and Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell were responsible for one of the most emotional moments of the evening when they sang "Black Hole Sun" in memory of their friend Chris Cornell. The Soundgarden singer took his own life in May 2017.
An "In Memoriam" reel also ran just before before Wilson and Cantrell's performance, recognizing others we've lost in the past year. They included Gregg Allman, Walter Becker, Fats Domino, Malcolm Young, Glen Campbell and Dolores O'Riordan.
The Cars Reunite After Seven Years
Ric Ocasek took the stage with the surviving members of the Cars for the first time since their 2011 reunion tour ended. Scott Shriner of Weezer was there in place of original bassist Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000. Giving an amazingly energetic performance, they sang "My Best Friend's Girl," "You Might Think," "Moving in Stereo" and "Just What I Needed."
Keyboardist Greg Hawkes admitted to no small amount of difficulty in completing that set list. "We finally decided on the fourth song on Thursday, I guess – just two days ago, we finally figured it out," he said backstage, laughing. "We just kept going back and forth. We argued; we arm wrestled. Then once we rehearsed, it became more apparent which ones we could play better."
The Moody Blues Finally Got Their Due
Justin Hayward and John Lodge both thanked U.S. radio for supporting the Moody Blues throughout their career. "Their belief in us has just been tremendous and has given us encouragement to keep going and doing what we love to do, which is make music," Lodge said.
Just before their performance, Hayward also exclaimed "Ray Thomas, we love you!" in memory of their former multi-instrumentalist bandmate, who died in January. Energized, the Moody Blues then played "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)," "Your Wildest Dreams," "Late Lament/Nights in White Satin" and "Ride My See-Saw."
"It was so long that we were eligible and didn't make it that I got real sour grapes about it," co-founding member Graeme Edge said backstage. "When it actually became something for us all to appreciate and have, I did realize it means the world to me."
Ann Wilson Heaps Praise on the Moody Blues
Wilson returned to give the speech enshrining the Moody Blues. She spoke of her own memories growing up listening to them. "The very few boys who took me out on dates in those days were instantly upstaged if 'Nights in White Satin' or 'Dawn Is a Feeling' came on," she said before adding: "Let us not overlook the simple fact that the Moody Blues are and always have been a kick-ass rock band."
Backstage, she was also asked about Heart's uncertain future. "I don't know," Wilson mused. "I know it will never go back to just playing the hits. That's why I stopped it, because I felt it was beginning to disintegrate into commercialism. Maybe that's idealistic, but that's what I had to do."
Lauryn Hill and Andra Day Trade Nina Simone Songs
Andra Day and surprise guest Lauryn Hill sang a medley of Nina Simone songs – including "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free," "I Put a Spell on You" and "Feeling Good" – while backed by the Roots. Day sang "I Put a Spell on You," while Hill added "Ne Me Quitte Pas," "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" and "Feeling Good." Simone was inducted by Mary J. Blige.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe Was Remembered
Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes spoke of the importance of gospel singer and guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. "She has been such an inspiration." Howard said onstage. "I hope this spotlight helps people discover what so many of us already know. She is one of the greatest artists of all time." Howard then performed Tharpe's "That's All" and "Strange Things Happening Every Day," backed by Paul Shaffer on piano and the Roots' Questlove on drums.
A New Category for the Hall
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also began a new tradition on Saturday night: officially recognizing singles that played an important role in the growth of rock. Steven Van Zandt announced the first songs to be inducted -- "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, "Rumble" by Link Wray, "The Twist" by Chubby Checker, "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild."