The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony returns to Cleveland every three years, so it was very appropriate that The Cars were inducted this year and in the hometown of the late Benjamin Orr.
Doing the honors of inducting The Cars was The Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers, who touched on the band’s influence on him while growing up.
“It was 1994, and I was a 13-year-old misfit kid living in a small town smack-dab in the middle of Utah. We’re talking no stop light small. We’re talking settle our differences at the water tower after school small. Sometimes, it even felt a little untouched by the previous four, five decades, like everything was still in black and white. My brother, Shane, had 12 years on me and the intuition to come and swoop me up on weekends. I’d stay at his house up in Spanish Fork, another thriving Utah metropolis about an hours drive up the I-15, and on those critical and impressionable rescue missions, he’d play me his music. There were a lot of great bands passed on to me by my brother, and there had been many more since, but The Cars were the first band I ever fell in love with, and you never forget your first.”
When The Cars took to the stage to give their acceptance speeches, the common thread through each band member’s speech was Orr.
Elliot Easton gave this touching tribute:
“Finally, Benjamin, who’s sadly no longer with us, but whose incredible voice, solid bass playing and good humor was such an important part of the band’s success. Not a bad looking guy either. Cleveland is Ben’s hometown, and they’ve always been very proud of him here. And I know that wherever he is, he’s so proud on this special occasion and more so that it would occur here of all places.”
Ric Ocasek also shared a funny and touching tribute to his late bandmate:
“When the band first started, Ben was supposed to be the lead singer, and I was supposed to be the good-looking guy in the band. But after a couple of gigs, I kinda got demoted to the songwriter, so I went with that one. But obviously, it’s hard not to notice that Benjamin Orr is not here. He would have been elated to be here on this stage in his hometown. It feels quite strange to be up here without him because we miss him and love him dearly.”
The Cars closed out their induction with a solid four-song set of some of their biggest hits: “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “You Might Think,” “Moving In Stereo” and “Just What I Needed,” which when trying to whittle down the band’s incredible catalog to just four tunes is about as perfect of a set list as you can get.
The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony airs May 5 at 8 PM EST/PST on HBO.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.