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Tuesday October 23rd, 2018 8:00AM

The Latest: The Cars drive into Rock & Roll immortality

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

10:25 p.m.

The Cars have pulled into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The pioneering new wave band, which crafted catchy pop songs into Top 40 hits, was inducted Saturday by Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers. Flowers recalled the first time he heard The Cars while growing up in a tiny, "no stoplight" town in Utah, saying "40 years later they still sound like a new band to me."

Founded in Boston, The Cars had a strong connection to Cleveland, the hometown of late bassist Benjamin Orr, who sang lead vocals on some the band's biggest hits like "Just What I Needed," ''Bye Bye Love" and "Drive."

Orr died in 2000, but each of the band members acknowledged his impact, with lead singer Ric Ocasek saying "it feels strange being up here without him."

___

9:45 p.m.

Overlooked but never unappreciated, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is finally a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer.

An inspiration to musicians from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash, Tharpe was called "the godmother of rock and roll" Saturday night by Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard, who inducted one her biggest influences.

Playing electric guitar and singing gospel songs, Tharpe became a major star in the 1940s. She was the one who put a 14-year-old Little Richard Penniman on stage for the first time, and Little Richard's life was never the same.

Tharpe died in 1973 at the age of 58, but her music lives on and is being appreciated by a new generation just learning of her legacy.

___

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."

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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.

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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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