CLEVELAND • Frontman Mark Knopfler did not show up for his band Dire Straits' induction, but other rockers including Bon Jovi, Cars and Moody Blues kept the faith and braved the wet cold of Cleveland last Saturday in the 33rd class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Guitarist Richie Sambora reunited with singer Jon Bon Jovi on stage as the group, that got their start in New Jersey in the early 1980s, played stadium hits Shot Through The Heart, It's My Life and Livin' On A Prayer to cheering fans.
The set followed a rather R-rated introduction by radio personality Howard Stern, who bemoaned how long it took for the band that sold more than 130 million albums to be inducted.
"The bubonic plague killed only 50 million people," he said. "That's peanuts compared to the more than 130 million albums. They are finally getting their due and it is about time."
Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes echoed the theme when thanking the fans of the band formed in Boston in the late 1970s.
"I know some of you voted for us every single day," he told the crowd. "Not just this year, but the two previous years that we didn't get in," he added.
Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first recording and inductees are voted on by music fans and 900 music industry experts.
The rock-heavy 2018 list marks a return to the roots for the Hall of Fame, which for the past two years has broadened its base to include rap artists such as the late Tupac Shakur and N.W.A.
Performances included tributes to musicians who died last year, with Killers performing Tom Petty's American Girl and Free Falling.
Ann Wilson of Heart and Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains paid tribute to Soundgarden's Chris Cornell with the artist's hit, Black Hole Sun.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Nina Simone were inducted posthumously.
Tharpe, dubbed the "Godmother of Rock and Roll" and known for her finger-picking guitar technique, is said to have influenced the likes of singers Johnny Cash and Chuck Berry.
"It's terrific that Tharpe is inducted this year," said Mr Greg Harris, chief executive of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "She influenced the influencers."
Singer-songwriter and civil rights activist Simone was inducted by Mary J. Blige, who called the performer "the High Priestess of Soul", adding that she "could sing anything" but that "everything she sang she made her own".