The Cars’ Ric Ocasek on first time performing in CLE: ‘Tried to find a place where no one knew me’

CLEVELAND, Ohio --The Cars have pulled into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The pioneering new wave band, which crafted catchy pop songs into Top 40 hits, was inducted Saturday by Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers. Flowers recalled the first time he heard The Cars while growing up in a tiny, "no stoplight" town in Utah, saying "40 years later they still sound like a new band to me."

Founded in Boston, The Cars had a strong connection to Cleveland, the hometown of late bassist Benjamin Orr, who sang lead vocals on some the band's biggest hits like "Just What I Needed," ''Bye Bye Love" and "Drive."

Orr died in 2000, but each of the band members acknowledged his impact, with lead singer Ric Ocasek saying "it feels strange being up here without him."

Backstage, Ocasek talked about his Cleveland roots and how it feels to be honored here.

"I went to high school here," he said. "First time I ever played in front of people, I tried to find a place where no one would really know me, so I went to Hootenanny's and I played there ... (I think it was down by Case Western Reserve) so I played the first time there...and here I am here... how many years later. So that's a weird scene."

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.