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Jon Bon Jovi makes surprise appearance to induct Southside Johnny into the New Jersey Hall of Fame

Written by on October 28, 2019

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Debra L Rothenberg/Getty ImagesJon Bon Jovi made a surprise appearance at the ceremony honoring the New Jersey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 inductees, held Sunday at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park. The singer was on hand to welcome John “Southside Johnny” Lyon into the Hall, reports.

While introducing Southside Johnny who, with his group The Asbury Jukes, emerged from the same Jersey shore scene as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Bon Jovi declared, “I always wanted to be an Asbury Juke.”

In his acceptance speech, Lyon said, “I’m very proud to be from New Jersey, and when we started out making music, making records, that was not something you would say.”

Bon Jovi, who was himself inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009, joined Lyon for a performance of the Jukes’ signature hit, “I Don’t Want to Go Home” — one of many songs that Little Steven Van Zandt wrote for Southside Johnny and the band.

The Smithereens were also inducted during the ceremony, with founding E Street Band bassist Gary Tallent welcomed the group into the Hall of Fame.

On hand to accept the honor were the group’s three surviving founding members — drummer Dennis Diken, guitarist Jim Babjak and bassist Mike Mesaros — as well as the daughter of frontman Pat DiNizio, who died in 2017 at age 62.

The Smithereens closed out the ceremony with a performance featuring two guest singers: Marshall Crenshaw and Gin Blossoms frontman Robin Wilson. Crenshaw and Wilson have performed regularly with the band since DiNizio’s death.

Also among the event’s 24 inductees: Martha Stewart, Seinfeld star Jason Alexander and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and gold medal-winning gymnast Laurie Hernandez.

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