This is the thirty-first award of merit presented at the AMAs.

It reads: "for being the embodiment of rock music for the last 20 years for inspiring countless musicians to follow in their footsteps and for
elevating all of us with their musicianship and artistry"

Jon's Speech:
Thank you. I'd like to thank Dick Clark and Larry Klein for this surreal but much appreciated award. And I have to read some people off the list.
My parents. Thanks mom and dad you were good enough to let your kids dream and I know you must be very proud of us tonight. I want to thank
Dorothea who put up with me, who loved me when it was easy, and who loved me even more when it was hard. I thank you for that. There's a lot of
others I need to thank. Jerry Edelstein that's been like a father and a friend and always the voice of reason. Alper. Eileen Shriveman, who's
always had my back.?. And Paul Korzillus. Paul, your selfless dedication to my dream is so appreciated you?ll never know. We've been through so
much together and it's not over yet. Bill Harper, Joy Deretiger, Rob Light, Chris Halston, Bugsy, Mike Rew, Scott Casey, and our crew.
To Obie O'Brien the one who reminds me it's all still worth fighting for. You're a real friend and I thank you.
Now to our record company IDG once Polygram now Universal the only label I've ever recorded for. Thank you. They're a loyal bunch of guys who
allow me to do what I want when I want and continue to believe. So for Dick Asher, Elan Levy, Jim Caparo, Lee Arcaro, and now Eliot Reed. I
thank you.
And where would I be without the guys in the band?
To Alex Such, thank you for your dedication.
To Hugh Mcdonald, the best bass player any band could ever hope for I thank you.
For David Bryan, we've gone from the basements to the bars together since we were sixteen years old. I know big Ed is smiling on you tonight.
Tico Torres, the grownup of the band. Tico once said to me "you know I must love you I've been staring at your backside for 20 years." Thank you
for pushing me, pulling me, keeping me big.
And Richie, Richie Sambora. Richie, I'm honored to call you my friend. We've done a lot together. You are always looking out for me. And I truly
appreciate that. You are truly my right arm. I thank you.
I have to give a quick shout to our kids: the baby Hector, Colton, Gabby, Lilly, Ava, Stephanie, Jesse, Jake, and Romeo--Who are in fact our
greatest hits.
And finally to our fans cause the reason we're still here is because you believe even when I couldn't you gave me the chance to dream. So may all
your dreams take you wherever you want to go.
Thank you. God bless you. And good night.


Longer version:

Los Angeles, CA / December 14, 2004
In the fall of 1977, I was just another sophomore at St. Joseph's High School in New Jersey. It was an all boys school, I might add. I wasn't doing particularly well in my first semester. Things weren't going as smoothly as it had just the year prior. To tell you the truth, I was on the verge of failing everything but gym.
So, one day I got called down to the office by one of the brothers – these men who were not quite priests but were a lot closer to God than I'd ever been. We both knew the drill. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life. What were my interests? What were my career plans? I tried to make small talk, all the while reassuring him that I would get those grades up and focus on the big picture.
He didn't fall for it. Not a single word. You see, I was 15 years old and was having a hard time telling the man of the cloth that over the summer I had found the two greatest things in the world. They were gonna teach me things I never dreamed of. Take me places I only heard of. Show me a piece of heaven that could make this sinner want to pray.
One was girls. This was God's greatest gift to the world.
The other was the guitar.
The guitar gave me hope.
It gave me courage.
It gave me faith.
It gave me a dream.
I went on trying to please my case. I looked that man in the eye and said, "Brother Richard, this isn't working for me. I checked the curriculum and there aren't the courses I need. You see, Brother Richard, I want to be a rock 'n' roll star."
He thoughtfully said that I should play the guitar. In fact, he played the guitar. He thought I should do it like he did – as a hobby.
But saving baseball cards was a hobby. Building model cars was a hobby. Playing in a band was not a hobby – it was my life. I went back to public school and it's there that I want to thank the first people on my list.
My parents. Thanks Mom and Dad. You were good enough to let your kids dream. I know you're real proud tonight.
I want to thank Dorothea who puts up with me. Loved me when it was easy and loved me more when it was hard. Thank you. I love you.
I want to thank so many others tonight but don't want to take too much time.
Jerry Edelstein, who is like a father and a friend and has always been the voice of reason.
Cheryl Alper. Ilene Schreibman who always has my back. And Paul Korzilius. Paul, your selfless dedication to my dream is so appreciated, you'll never know. We've been through so much and it's not over yet.
Bill Harper, Joy Derdiger, Rob Light, Chris Dalston, Bugzee Hougdahl, Rocky Holman, Mike Rew, Scott Casey… all the crew who have been with us through the years and to all those who have served the band so well, I thank you.
Obie O'Brien. You're the one who reminds me it's still worth the fight. You're a real friend. I thank you.