Hundreds of rock fans were surprised when Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and David Bryan of Bon Jovi, as well as Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum at an unveiling of a plaque with names and signatures of this year's Hall of Fame class. Sambora left in 2013; Such left in 1994. The band was inducted by radio and television personality Howard Stern.
In addition to his musical career, Jon Bon Jovi is an active philanthropist, founding charity restaurants and a social service center for the needy, and raising millions for affordable housing and other needs. "You're at a Bon Jovi concert".
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Of course, the rest of the evening was not without its other highlights, which also included a "greatest hits" performance from new-wave legends The Cars, a cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl" by The Killers, and a touching tribute to Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell by Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell and Heart's Ann Wilson. He proceeded to trash Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner, whom he said worked behind-the-scenes to ensure Bon Jovi wouldn't be inducted into the Rock Hall.
"I've been writing this speech since I first strummed a broom and sang at the top of the stairs of my childhood home", he said.
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Simone was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night by R&B superstar Mary J. Blige, who described her as "bold, strong, feisty and fearless and so vulnerable and transparent at the same time". Tharpe, dubbed the "Godmother of Rock and Roll", and known for her finger picking guitar technique, is said to have influenced the likes of Johnny Cash and Chuck Berry. There was no performance following the band members' speeches. Ric Ocasek, the singer of The Cars, discussed some of his early Cleveland shows. Decked out in a black and white checkered jacket, a very enthusiastic Brandon Flowers talked about discovering the Cars while growing up in a small town in Utah. "It feels unusual to be up here without him", Ocasek said, who noted he lived in Cleveland for a while. He didn't address the gathering unlike the previous ceremonies where he opened the ceremonies with his speech. If I wrote a book, it would be the best time I ever had'.
Wilson reminded the sellout crowd at the Public Auditorium that the band never strayed far from its roots, saying, "the Moody Blues have always been a kick-ass rock band".
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HBO will air a special with highlights from the Rock Hall induction at 8 p.m. ET on May 5.