The 33rd Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction will take place on Saturday (April 14th) at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium with HBO will airing an edited version of the ceremonies on May 5th. The class of 2018 is Bon Jovi, Moody Blues, the Cars, Dire StraitsNina Simone, and early influence gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The event will mark Richie Sambora‘s first live performance with Bon Jovi since 2013, when Sambora went AWOL from the band at the beginning of its massive world tour in support of its then-recent chart-topping What About Now album.

In addition to a special appearance by Steve Van Zandt, the inductors for tomorrow night’s ceremony are Heart’Ann Wilson for the Moody Blues; Howard Stern for Bon Jovi; the Killers‘ Brandon Flowers for the Cars; Mary J. Blige for Nina Simone; Alabama Shakes‘ Brittany Howard for Sister Rosetta Tharpe — with still no official word as to who is inducting Dire Straits.

Jon Bon Jovi told us that he feels the official public vote came into being due to Bon Jovi having been shut out when first put on the ballot, and he credits the vote for finally getting Bon Jovi into the Rock Hall: [“The first time we were nominated and ultimately didn’t get in there was a lot of conversations about ‘were we legitimately not voted in’ — was there a little bit of covert action going on and we’ll have never known. But after, then they instilled this ‘public vote.’ As a result, y’know, those who have gotten the Number One vote each time, subsequently has (sic) gotten in. So, that didn’t exist the first time and I think as a result of us not getting in, there were conversations about ‘this is about bands of the people.’ So the fans had spoken.”] SOUNDCUE (:29 OC: . . . fans had spoken)

Richie Sambora told us that he wasn’t sweating Bon Jovi getting the nod for 2018. Sambora told us that Bon Jovi being passed by every year for induction since 2008 was par for the course — and almost expected. We asked Sambora if he was anxious about whether this would finally be Bon Jovi’s moment: [“Y’know, I gotta be honest with you — not really. I wasn’t fixated on it or anything like that. Y’know, we were never a critics band, or any of that kinda stuff, so what we did was more about the fans — and the fans really came to the polls, y’know? (Laughs) They voted like crazy, and that’s a testimony, I think, of the songs.”] SOUNDCUE (:19 OC: . . . of the songs)

To the disappointment of many, Dire Straits will not be reuniting at the ceremony, with leader Mark Knopfler deciding to pass on attending the festivities. We spoke with bassist John Illsey, who remains very close with Knopfler and asked him why the legendary guitarist decide to take a pass at such a monumental event: [“He just didn’t feel like coming, it’s as simple as that, really. And I can’t really say any more than that. It didn’t appeal to him, and I appealed to him on several occasions. I said, ‘I’d love you to get your head ’round this,’ but he said, ‘Look, I just can’t do it, John. I’m really sorry. It’s a great honor for all of us,’ he said, ‘I can’t get my head around it.’ So, I just gotta respect it, y’know? He’s got his reasons, which he doesn’t really wanna share with me — which is unusual because we’ve shared most things over the years. But, it’s fine it’s a shame that we won’t be performing, but it would’ve been quite complicated to do that.”] SOUNDCUE (:29 OC: . . . to do that)

  • Cars leader Ric Ocasek told us that looking back on the band’s glory years, he can honestly say that both on and off the stage, the Cars delivered to not only themselves and their fans, but to other groups coming up in the late-’70s and early-’80s: [“I like the fact that we were a good pop band. I thought we had some integrity about it. I think we cared about, like, the commercial side and the art side; we tried to make it interesting in both ways. And when we were in the Cars, we were pretty focused on, like, what we thought was good music, y’know, besides our own. And we would go to radio stations and try to play, y’know, other people’s records that we liked, that we thought were new on the scene. And we tried to promote, like, y’know, kinda music and art together.”] SOUNDCUE (:35 OC: . . . and art together)
  • Although the Moody Blues have been eligible for induction since 1989, bassist John Lodge told us he’s never been offended in the least by the Moodies being passed over time and time again: [“I never felt slighted because I got into rock n’ roll music when I was, like, 12. ‘Bought a guitar, learned to play for a couple of years — but I was always interested in bass. When I saw a Fender precision bass arrive in Birmingham, England — that to me was the ultimate. And I’ve just played my bass ever since, y’know? Written songs and I never want for any accolades at all, y’know? I just wanted to make my music.”] SOUNDCUE (:26 OC: . . . make my music)


  • The other artists who were shortlisted for induction but missed out this year were Judas Priest, the ZombiesEurythmics, the J. Geils BandDepeche ModeKate Bush, RadioheadRage Against The MachineMC5, LL Cool JLink WrayRufus featuring Chaka Khan, and the Meters.


  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2017 inductees were JourneyYesElectric Light OrchestraPearl JamJoan Baez, Tupac Shakur, with Chic‘s Nile Rodgers tapped for the Award for Musical Excellence.