Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Bon Jovi and The Moody Blues were on hand today for a special ceremony unveiling the Class of 2018 plaque and a new floor exhibit, The Hall of Fame Gallery, that inhabits the entire third floor of the museum.
At the ribbon cutting outside of the Rock Hall in Cleveland Friday afternoon (April 13), Jon Bon Jovi — making his first public appearance alongside former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora — took a moment to thank the Hall and praise the Moody Blues, as the two groups met for the first time a day before both were to be inducted along with The Cars, Dire Straits, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
“Any kid who strums a broomstick dreams of making a record,” Bon Jovi said. “Every kid who makes a record dreams of having fame, and every guy who has a minute of fame dreams about having as close to immortality as any of us are going to know, and that is having written songs that will outlive us all. The kindness of the generations around this globe have allowed me, my guys — and I think I can speak on behalf of the Moodies or anyone else that strummed that broomstick — the opportunity to touch heaven, and so we now join a very elite group as members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and on
behalf of my guys, we are thrilled, we are honored and it’s about f—ing time.”
Moody Blues singer Justin Hayward took a moment to thank the Hall — and the fans — for making the moment possible.
“We’re all very grateful to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for being the temple for all the music we loved growing up,” said Hayward. “It means a lot to us as a group and it means a lot to all of the people who love our music.”
“For us in The Moodies, we knew that once they’d opened the door for the first time to our fans to be in this wonderful place, it was like a steamroller, baby,” he said. “We were going to get in.”
Afterward, the inductees joined Rock Hall Foundation members upstairs for the plaque ceremony. The plaque, which features the signatures of all of the 2018 inductees, will be on permanent display, along with plaques from previous years. An exhibit displaying instruments, stage clothing, handwritten lyrics and other nuggets was unveiled, along with interactive features that allow fans to participate in a fan vote for next year’s class.
Among the cool items on display: Bon Jovi’s long, leather “New Jersey” jacket; Sambora’s stage outfit and the Ovation double neck guitar used for “Wanted Dead or Alive”; a 2002 Yamaha Motif 8 keyboard from Dave Bryan; a guitar strap used by John Lodge; outfits worn by Tharpe and Simone; a Fender Precision bass played by Cars bassist Benjamin Orr in 1977; the actual shaker from The Cars’ “Shake it Up” album; an accordion used by Alan Clark of Dire Straits; and more.
“We’ve not had a formal space dedicated to the inductees in this grand of a fashion and it’s fitting because this is the spot where they’re memorialized forever,” Greg Harris, CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tells Variety.
Another facet of the exhibit is The Power of Rock Experience in the Connor Theatre, directed by Academy Award winner Jonathan Demme. The film features concert-quality sound, larger-than-life video screens and fan interactivity.
“He was a great passionate music fan. And it was the final thing he did before he passed last year,” Harris said.
Additionally, fans — Harris estimates 570,000 enthusiastic music lovers came through the turnstiles last year — get to be part of the action this summer with the new Say it Loud booths, where they can talk about the music and what it means to them. The new experiences cap off the latest phase of the Rock Hall’s multi-year, multi-million-dollar transformation.
The activities began last week with Sambora and Orianthi performing with their new project, RSO, on what will be The Rock Hall’s Summer Stage. Sixty days of live music are planned for this season. Being an inductee has its perks — Sambora was the first member of the Class of 2018 to have a look.
“Oh yeah, he took a walk through. He’s a huge music fan himself [so] we gave him a sneak peek,” Harris said.
As for tomorrow night, there are several nuggets that have been leaked: Weezer bassist Scott Shriner will join The Cars to fill in for the late Benjamin Orr, and Bon Jovi keyboardist Bryan told the hosts of Sirius XM’s Volume (Channel 106) that Bon Jovi’s performance will include all members on stage, joking that the lineup will be a mix of “original batter…extra crispy.”
The official ceremony will take place on Saturday night (April 14). HBO will air the show on May 5.