Powerhouse performances mark Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction

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CLEVELAND — Bon Jovi reunited onstage with former members for a powerful performance celebrating its admission into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the late icon Nina Simone was welcomed to the prestigious music club with show-stopping performances from Lauryn Hill and Andra Day.

Bon Jovi's portion of the four-hour-plus event ran an hour-long Saturday night, with Jon Boni Jovi giving a lengthy 20-minute speech onstage. He said he had been writing the speech for years.

"Some days I write the 'Thank you' speech, sometimes I write the '(Expletive) you' speech," he said. "In the end, it's all about time. It took a lot of people to get us here tonight."

Richie Sambora, who left the New Jersey band in 2013, and Alec John Such, who left in 1994, embraced their former bandmates with a hug after each one spoke onstage to accept the honor. They performed together, too, singing crowd favorites like "Livin' on a Prayer," ''You Give Love a Bad Name" and "It's My Life."

They were inducted by Howard Stern, who provided many laughs to the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, where the Rock Hall is based.

Simone, who died in 2003, was welcomed into the Rock Hall in a groundbreaking way from performers who she has deeply inspired, from Hill to Mary J. Blige.

Hill was exceptional, stretching her voice as wide as possible, and singing in French, in honor of Simone's music. Hill earned a standing ovation from the audience.

Day, a Grammy-nominated R&B singer, was also extraordinary, hitting high notes that also earned her applause. Blige inducted Simone, calling the singer "bold, strong, feisty and fearless."

Simone was a leader in pushing for civil rights and influenced everyone from Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keys. Her brother, Sam Waymon, accepted the honor on his sister's behalf.

The 33rd annual Rock Hall ceremony kicked off with a tribute to Tom Petty, who died in October at age 66.

The Cars and four first-time nominees, including Simone, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, make up the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class.


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