Bon Jovi Performs with Richie Sambora and More 2018 Rock Hall Highlights

New Jersey Gov. Murphy Declares April 14th 'Bon Jovi Day'

Band members thanked fans as they accepted their award after a speech from Ann Wilson, who praised their "natural intelligence".

Once the tension was lifted, Bon Jovi spoke about the affection for his bandmates.

Sambora hasn't played with the band since he left in 2013 while Such hasn't been onstage with them since a one-off performance in 2001.

Jon Bon Jovi began: "I've been writing this speech since I first strummed the broom and sang at the top of the stairs of my childhood home".

"They are finally getting their due, and it is about time". I've known them since they started", said Stern, joking that in 1987 he "was on a date with Richie Sambora.

Stern also thanked Bon Jovi for its music, which he is a big fan of, and stressed how big of a deal it is that the band has sold more than 130 million albums.

Later during his acceptance speech, Illsley credited Knopfler with writing the band's timeless songs.

The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues rounded out the 2018 hall of fame class.

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Singer-songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone, who died in 2003 aged 70, was inducted by Mary J Blige, who called the unique performer "the High Priestess of Soul", adding that she "could sing anything" but that "everything she sang she made her own". With the much-publicised non-appearance of former Dire Straits frontman and songwriter Mark Knopfler, and the unusual absence of a fellow artist to introduce them, it fell on his former bandmate and longtime friend John Illsley to induct the group himself.

The group then delivered a spotty performance - mostly due to Bon Jovi's uneven vocals - of "You Give Love a Bad Name", "It's My Life", "When We Were Us" and "Livin' on a Prayer".

The show kicked off with a tribute to Tom Petty by The Killers, who performed "American Girl" and "Free Fallin'".

Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who died in 1973, will earn the prestigious honour Saturday night at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, where the Rock Hall is based.

Blige inducted Simone, contacting the singer "daring, powerful, weatherproof and fearless".

"It's been long overdue", said Howard, who performed "That's All" with a backing band that included The Roots' Questlove on drums and Paul Shaffer on piano.

New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi, new wave pioneers the Cars and four first-time nominees, including singer Nina Simone, are in this year's eclectic class. "It feels unusual to be up here without him", Ocasek said, who noted he lived in Cleveland for a while. "Without Cleveland, what the (expletive) is rock and roll?" said Van Zandt, who received quite the audience response. "It was actually the first place I played music in front of people".

The ceremony will air as an edited special on HBO May 5, but you can also see their backstage press room chat below.

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