‘An incredible place’: Dire Straits gives CLE big shout-out during Rock Hall induction speeches

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Dire Straits' Guy Fletcher gave Cleveland a big shout-out during his speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Saturday.

"You've been so warm and courteous and kind," said Fletcher, known as keyboard player for the band. "We've been around the town the last couple of days...what an incredible place."

"There's such a buzz here," Fletcher went on, "and you should be very proud of that."

Dire Straits went into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame without its leader.

Lead singer and guitarist Mark Knopfler skipped Saturday's ceremony and his absence was a major disappointment to fans of the band, which was influenced by blues, country, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.

Founded in London while punk music was exploding, Dire Straits created a unique sound and had a string of radio hits in the 1970s and 1980s, including "Sultans Of Swing" and "Money For Nothing," a song that captured how MTV re-shaped the music industry.

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."

Illsley did compliment Knopfler for writing music that made the band "stand out from the crowd."

The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air on HBO May 5 at 8 p.m.

Read more on this year's inductees below:

Bon Jovi
Dire Straits
The Cars
Nina Simone
The Moody Blues

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the first guitar heroine of rock and roll, was also chosen for the Award for Early Influence.

More stories on the induction.

More from the Rock Hall.