He then ran down each band member. and poked fun at them along the way, including an extended joke about which Bon Jovi member has the biggest penis.
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. He's disappointed that the group won't be performing and said he expected Knopfler wouldn't show up, but added that hasn't diminished his enthusiasm for the induction.
"Ocasek found his silver and gold in Benjamin Orr right here in OH back in 1964", Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers, said in his induction speech of a band that had already charted several hits before he was born in 1981. 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".
The party hasn't started at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony but the atmosphere already is rocking.
WKYC will bring you full coverage from Saturday's festivities in Cleveland, starting with the red carpet walk at Public Hall.
R&B-infused progressive rockers the Moody Blues took the stage to perform Your Wildest Dreams, while New Wave pop songwriters the Cars played Just What I Needed. Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe also are being enshrined.
There may be something to that, since Bon Jovi - whose fans came out in thousands to see the band inducted - were the first band to be inducted at the ceremony.
She will be inducted by Brittany Howard, of blues rock band Alabama Shakes.
Alan Clark of Dire Straits laughed in the bottom level food court as he spoke about how he claimed that he, bassist John Illsley and keyboardist Guy Fletcher would play an acoustic version of the epic "Telegraph Road" in the absence of frontman Mark Knopfler - and that it was taken seriously.