The "Human" singer couldn't hold back his enthusiasm for the "Drive" rockers as he gave a heartfelt speech, during which he revealed Ric Ocasek and his bandmates changed his life as a teenager and sparked his dreams of becoming a musician.
"They still sound like a new band to me," he told the audience at the Hall of Fame. "A lot gets written about rock 'n' roll. People try to describe it. But it was once said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. You've just go to hear it to know. And, when I first heard the Cars, like so many others, I knew."
"It was 1994 and I was a 13-year-old misfit kid living in a small town smack dab in the middle of Utah. We're talking no-stop-light small. We're talking 'settle our differences at the water tower after school' small. Sometimes it even felt untouched by the previous four or five decades."
"My big brother Shane had 12 years on me and the intuition to come and swoop me up on the weekends. I'd stay over at his place in Spanish Fork, another thriving Utah metropolis..., and on those critical and impressionable rescue missions he'd play me his music. There were a lot of great bands passed on to me by my brother - and there have been many others since - but The Cars were the first band I fell in love with. And you never forget your first."
He added, "The Cars had it all: the looks, the hooks, Beat-romance lyrics, killer choruses, guitar solos that pissed off your parents, dazzling music videos. Not to mention the best song in any movie scene that featured a girl slowly getting out of a pool and taking her top off. That's right. I'll take 'Moving in Stereo' over the 'Star Wars' theme any day..."
"I was born in '81 but I've seen (1970s-era film) 'Boogie Nights', and, as I understand it, while everybody else was sweating it up on the dance floor in their polyester suits or fighting it out in the punk clubs, these guys cruised in and made you look like you were working too hard."
Calling Ocasek "one of the world's most enigmatic frontmen," Flowers also paid tribute to late The Cars star Benjamin Orr, "Berklee-trained guitarist" Elliot Easton, and their bandmates, stating, "The Cars have achieved what every kid who ever sweat it out in a garage dreamed of - including a young Kurt Cobain who chose 'My Best Friend's Girl' as one of his first tunes to learn."
The Killers' star closed out his passionate speech by adding, "Good rock 'n' roll is powerful. It can lift us up. It can pull us through. It can even transform little black-and-white steel-trap towns in the middle of nowhere into electrifying color, surging with possibility. So, when, in his own masterpiece 'American Pie', Don McLean asks, 'Do you believe in rock & roll? Can music save your mortal soul?' The answer, tonight and forever, will always be an unequivocal and emphatic yes!"
"We thank the Cars: Ric, Benjamin, David, Greg and Elliot. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. This band means so much to me and millions of others."