Janine Rubenstein and Nicole Sands
December 13, 2017 10:15 PM

Jon Bon Jovi has been livin’ on a prayer for “eight or nine years” before the announcement Wednesday that his band, Bon Jovi, will finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this spring.

While waiting to check off this bucket list item has been “frustrating” for the ’80s icon, “there are certain things you can’t control,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“All through those nine years of suffering, it was never pleasant on this day,” the rocker, 55, admits. “Good things come to those who wait.”

With four albums that hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling a reported 130 million records and selling out just about every stadium in the world over and over again, the group only appeared on one single Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot before finally getting the nod for 2018 — nearly a decade after first becoming eligible.

Thank you. See you in Cleveland. #rockhall2018

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“That’s behind us and we move on,” Bon Jovi says about creating a clean slate. “I hold no animosities — it was more frustration and disappointment because there’s still so many great bands that aren’t in.”

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From Dire Straits and The Cars to progressive rock icons the Moody Blues and the late jazz/soul songstress Nina Simone, the rocker says “everybody who was nominated deserves to be in there,” including former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, who abruptly left the group in 2013 in the midst of their Because We Can tour.

“I haven’t seen Richie in five years, almost,” he says. “I’ve always said publicly that there was no falling out. The guy just didn’t show up for a show and never came back, so maybe a little bit of explaining to do to the rest of us, but there’s no ill will — there never was.”

Bon Jovi in 1987
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Sambora, as well as former bassist Alec John Such, will be welcome to hit the stage with Jon Bon Jovi and his band during the 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Klipsch Audio, on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio. HBO will broadcast the ceremony in spring 2018.

“The current band will be performing, and Richie and Alec will not only be invited to perform, but also invited to all of the weekend’s festivities, including the acceptance because, as founding members, they’re entitled, but they were also guys who were there with me when I had this vision,” says the “It’s My Life” singer. “They deserve it.”

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