By MESFIN FEKADU, AP Music Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Bon Jovi, the Cars and four first-time nominees, including Nina Simone, will be inducted Saturday night as the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class.
Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who died in 1973, will also earn the prestigious honor at the organization’s 33rd annual ceremony at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, where the Rock Hall is based.
Bon Jovi, who have sold more than 120 million albums and launched multiple No. 1 hits, was first nominated in 2011. Jon Bon Jovi will be inducted alongside current bandmates David Bryan and Tico Torres, as well as former members Richie Sambora and Alec John Such. Sambora left in 2013; Such left in 1994.
The frontman said though he and the other current members haven’t spoken to Sambora since he left the group, he invites the performer, along with Such, to be part of the Rock Hall festivities.
The band will be inducted by Howard Stern.
Brothers Mark and David Knopfler, of English rockers Dire Straits, won’t attend the event, according to bassist John Illsley.
“He just didn’t feel like coming, it’s as simple as that,” Illsley, in an interview with Billboard, said of Mark Knopfler. “It just didn’t appeal to him, and I appealed to him on several occasions.”
Tharpe will be inducted with the “Award for Early Influence,” while the other five acts will be inducted as performers. She was a pioneering guitarist who performed gospel music and was known to some as “the godmother of rock ‘n’ roll.” She will be inducted by Brittany Howard, of blues rock band Alabama Shakes.
The jazzy and soulful Simone, who died in 2003, was a leader in pushing for civil rights and influenced the likes of Alicia Keys and Aretha Franklin. Mary J. Blige will induct Simone, while Andra Day will sing in her honor.
Rock Hall voters have recently opened their hearts to progressive rockers, which benefited “Nights in White Satin” singers The Moody Blues, to be inducted by Ann Wilson of Heart. The Cars, founded in Boston in 1976, combined New Wave and classic rock sounds. This year marked the band’s third nomination; Brandon Flowers, of The Killers, will induct the band.
The 2018 class were chosen from a group of 19 nominees, including Radiohead, who were expected to enter in the Rock Hall in their first year of eligibility, but didn’t make it.
Each year, between five and seven acts usually make it into the Rock Hall following a vote by 1,000 people, including performers, music historians and industry experts. Fans also were able to vote on the Rock Hall’s website. All of the inductees had to have released their first recording no later than 1992 to be eligible.
The event will air May 5 on HBO and will also be heard on SiriusXM Radio.