Fifty-four years after "Go Now" introduced them to the world, the Moody Blues were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland. They were singled out by 2013 inductee Ann Wilson of Heart for "taking me from childhood into adulthood as a disciple."

"The very few boys who took me out on dates in those days were instantly upstaged if 'Nights in White Satin' or 'Dawn Is a Feeling' came on," she continued. "The Moody Blues are not cool or ironic -- they're not a construct," she said. "Let us not overlook the simple fact that the Moody Blues are and always have been a kickass rock band."

Denny Laine, who sang lead on "Go Now" but left in 1966, originally wasn't named among the inductees. But the Hall quickly rectified the situation, with voting member Steven Van Zandt calling it an "inadvertent omission." He was the first member to take the mic and kept his speech short, pretty much acknowledging that he wasn't in the band all that long.

John Lodge, who joined in time for 1967's Days of Future Passed, thanked "American radio for supporting us for five decades. Their belief in us has just been tremendous and has given us encouragement to keep going and doing what we love to do, which is make music."

Justin Hayward, who joined the band around the same time as Lodge, noted, "If you didn’t know already, we’re just a bunch of British guys and it’s quite hard explaining the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over the other side of the Atlantic."

But the event was tinged with bittersweetness. Multi-instrumentalist Ray Thomas, who wrote or co-wrote 25 of the band's songs, died from pancreatic cancer on Jan. 4, only a few weeks after this year's class had been announced. Thomas, who retired from the band in 2002 due to health issues, was remembered by Hayward, who shouted, "Ray Thomas, we love you!" at the end of his speech.

Even though the Moody Blues have been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1989, only two years after their last Top 40 hit, "I Know You're Out There Somewhere," 2017 was the first time they've found themselves on the ballot. They came in second place in the fan vote with 947,795 votes, topped only to Bon Jovi.

The band hasn't put out a studio album since 2003's December, but it's remained a highly visible live unit, which includes headlining an annual cruise beginning in 2013. Last year, they toured in honor of the 50th anniversary of Days of Future Passed, performing the album nightly. The shows were documented with a CD and video.

The 2018 induction ceremony will be broadcast on May 5 at 8PM ET on HBO.

 

The Best Photos From the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony