Gov. Phil Murphy made the declaration Saturday, hours before the platinum-selling New Jersey band was to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Cleveland.
R&B superstar Mary J. Blige welcomed Simone into the Rock Hall, and R&B singer Andra Day performed in her honor.
After being inducted by DJ Howard Stern, frontman Jon said: 'I've been writing a speech like this since I first strummed a broom and sang from the top of the stairs of my childhood home. "I said 'thank you very much, my 25th show, your music has meant a lot", and that was that". "In the end, it's all about time. That's how close we get", he said. "Performing for the first time in years with original guitarist Richie Sambora, the band played hits such as "Livin" on a Prayer", "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "It's My Life".
Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who died in 1973, will earn the prestigious honour Saturday night at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, where the Rock Hall is based.
Each year, between five and seven acts usually make it into the Rock Hall following a vote by 1,000 people, including performers, music historians and industry experts.
Winnie Mandela: Soweto send-off for anti-apartheid fighter
Apartheid security agents have gone on the record revealing the extent of their propaganda campaign against Madikizela-Mandela. While the pain she endured during the years could not be forgiven, she did not allow it to break her spirit and humanity.
Simone has been a pioneer in pushing for civil rights influenced everyone from Aretha Franklin.
"Cleveland was Ben's hometown, and I know whenever he is, he's so proud of this special occasion and even more so that we're here of all places", The Cars guitarist said. Her brother, Sam Waymon, accepted the induction on his sister's behalf. She will be inducted by Brittany Howard, of blues rock band Alabama Shakes. This year was a little different, though, as the Hall also officially recognized singles for the first time, creating a new (and seemingly limitless) category for songs that shaped the course of rock music, from a couple of the earliest to some psych-rock staples of the "60s".
Killers frontman Brandon Flowers inducted the Cars, and surviving members Ric Ocasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson performed with Weezer's Scott Shriner filling in for late bass player Benjamin Orr.
Overall, while this year's Induction Ceremony didn't have the star power of previous evenings held in Cleveland, the high-profile event had its moments. The event also saw the band's reunion with former member Richie Sambora, who shared a microphone with the band's lead singer on 'When We Were Us'.
Howard Stern did the honors for the band, with one of the night's more entertaining speeches.