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Saturday April 21st, 2018 3:03PM

The Latest: Dire Straits enters Rock Hall without Knopfler

By The Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

Dire Straits went into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame without its leader.

Lead singer and guitarist Mark Knopfler skipped Saturday's ceremony and his absence was a major disappointment to fans of the band, which was influenced by blues, country, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.

Founded in London while punk music was exploding, Dire Straits created a unique sound and had a string of radio hits in the 1970s and 1980s, including "Sultans Of Swing" and "Money For Nothing," a song that captured how MTV re-shaped the music industry.

Bassist John Illsley acknowledged the awkwardness of Knopfler not being present and then took a subtle swipe at his bandmate and close friend by saying, "it's more than one person, a collective."

Illsley did compliment Knopfler for writing music that made the band "stand out from the crowd."

___

8:45 p.m.

Bon Jovi, one of New Jersey's finest musical exports since Bruce Springsteen, is now a Hall of Fame act.

Emerging as one of the top groups from the "hair band" era of the 1980s, the group led by singer Jon Bon Jovi, was enshrined Saturday before a sellout crowd familiar with all of its iconic anthems.

Radio superstar Howard Stern inducted the band with an irreverent, profanity-laced speech and also led the crowd in singing "Wanted Dead Or Alive," one of Bon Jovi's biggest hits that helped them sell 130 million albums.

During a 20-minute speech, Jon Bon Jovi recounted the band's rise to superstardom from basements to sold-out arenas.

Then, with former guitarist Richie Sambora reuniting for the event, the band ripped into "You Give Love A Bad Name."

___

7:45 p.m.

The late Tom Petty was honored with a rousing musical tribute by The Killers to open the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland.

Petty, who was enshrined with his band The Heartbreakers in 2002, died in October of an accidental drug overdose shortly after wrapping up a highly successful North American tour.

As giant photos of Petty were displayed behind the stage, The Killers kicked off Saturday evening's tribute with "American Girl" one of Petty's best-known hits. The band then transitioned into a segment of "Free Fallin' as lead singer Brandon Flowers urged the crowd of 10,000 to "get on your feet for the eternal Tom Petty."

Flowers will deliver the induction speech to welcome The Cars into the Hall.

___

6:50 p.m.

The party hasn't started at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony but the atmosphere already is rocking.

Guests are hitting the red carpet Saturday evening for the ceremony, which is back in Cleveland.

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. Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe also are being enshrined.

Jon Bon Jovi is expected to be joined on stage by former members Richie Sambora and Alec John Such to perform some of their arena-friendly anthems like "Livin' On A Prayer."

Desmond Child, who co-wrote some of the band's biggest hits, says he'd "love to see them back together."

Dire Straits lead singer Mark Knopfler isn't attending the event.

___

10:36 a.m.

Bon Jovi, the Cars and four first-time nominees, including Nina Simone, will be inducted as the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class.

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

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. The band will be inducted by Howard Stern.

Tharpe will be inducted by Brittany Howard, of Alabama Shakes. Mary J. Blige will induct Simone, who died in 2003.

Brothers Mark and David Knopfler, of English rockers Dire Straits, won't attend the event, according to bassist John Illsley.

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