The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced the slate of artists that will be on hand at Cleveland Public’s Hall to induct the class of 2018 on April 14th. Brandon Flowers will do the honors for the Cars, Mary J. Blige will fete Nina Simon, Heart’s Ann Wilson will speak on behalf of the Moody Blues and Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard will honor Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Andra Day is scheduled to perform a tribute to Nina Simone. Word came out earlier this year that Howard Stern would induct Bon Jovi. Stevie Van Zandt will also appear as a special guest at the induction ceremony.
“I am such a huge Nina Simone fan,” Blige says in a statement to Rolling Stone, “and am beyond thrilled and honored to be a part of her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.”
Howard is also excited by the opportunity to honor of her her heroes. “It is a huge honor to induct Sister Rosetta Tharpe to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” she tells Rolling Stone. “She has been such an inspiration. I hope this spotlight helps people discover what so many of us already know. She is one of the greatest artists of all time.”
Wilson has been a lifelong fan of the Moody Blues. “The Moody Blues have meant a lot in my soul over the years,” she says. “They are an original – the real thing. It is my honor to pay tribute to them at this year’s RRHOF induction ceremony.”
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, presented by Klipsch, has featured historic reunions in the past and this year will be no different. Bon Jovi have already announced plans to perform with guitarist Richie Sambora for the first time since his sudden 2013 exit from the group. They also have said that Alec John Such, the band’s original bassist who left in 1994, will likely play with them for the first time since a one-off appearance in 2001.
The Cars haven’t played live since the end of their brief 2011 reunion tour, but they are also slated to play at the ceremony. “I could go out there and try and be esoteric and play obscure songs from the records, but I think they’ll want to hear something they know,” frontman Ric Ocasek told Rolling Stone in December. “Off the top of my head I can imagine [us playing] ‘Just What I Needed’ and ‘Drive’ or something. That’s what people would expect. There’s no reason to play something they wouldn’t expect.”
Moody Blues frontman Justin Hayward told Rolling Stone in December that he was open to playing with original keyboardist Mike Pinder and former flautist Ray Thomas, but Thomas died less than a month later. It’s uncertain if Pinder will participate in the performance or even attend the ceremony. Original vocalist Denny Laine (who sang their 1965 breakthrough hit “Go Now”) was quietly added to the list of Moody Blues members entering the Hall of Fame after the initial announcement, though it’s unclear if he’ll have any role in their performance.
The Dire Straits situation is shrouded in mystery. Group leader Mark Knopfler has yet to comment publicly on the Hall of Fame, though there are strong indications that he does not plan on attending. The Hall of Fame has yet to comment on how they will honor the band in his absence.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony will air on HBO on Saturday, May 5th at 8 p.m. EST/PST.