Bassist John Illsley acknowledged the awkwardness of Knopfler not being present and then took a subtle swipe at his bandmate and close friend by saying, "it's more than one person, a collective". They've had a string of classic rock anthems since their first album in 1984 including "You Give Love a Bad Name, ' "Livin" on a Prayer" and 'Wanted Dead or Alive'.
Petty, who was enshrined with his band The Heartbreakers in 2002, died in October of an accidental drug overdose shortly after wrapping up a highly successful North American tour.
The Killers hit the stage at the onset of the ceremony to perform a cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl".
Flowers will deliver the induction speech to welcome The Cars into the Hall.More news: Robert De Niro's Robert Mueller Grills Ben Stiller's Michael Cohen
Return to Cleveland 19 throughout the day for livestreaming, red carpet photos and ceremony videos. She added that Bon Jovi should also be in the Hall of Fame for "wife-picking". It was a surprise for the group members in attendance: Jon Bon Jovi (with his wife and four children), David Bryan, Tico Torres, Hugh McDonald, Richie Sambora, and Alec John Such (who will be inducted tonight). Special guests and presenters include Howard Stern, Mary J. Blige, Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes), Brandon Flowers (The Killers) and Lauryn Hill.
Soul legend Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the gospel inspiration for early rockers, both of whom were posthumously inducted, and British rockers Dire Straits rounded out the 2018 Hall of Fame class.
Dire Straits, led by Mark Knopfler, emerged from Britain's so-called pub rock scene of the 1970s, which emphasized blues roots and no-frills musicianship in an era of angry punks and flamboyant glam bands.