"It's the closest thing to immortality as we're ever gonna see here," he said.
There may be another way: the Songwriters Hall of Fame. And on Thursday night, the New Jersey rocker and his writing partner, Richie Sambora, joined Crosby, Stills & Nash for one of music's top honors.
Also honored at the induction ceremony, which represented the Songwriters Hall's 40th anniversary, was Jason Mraz, who was given the Hal David Starlight Award honoring a younger artist's promise. Mraz performed his hit single "I'm Yours" to the delight of the crowd of his more established peers.
"I believe in 20 years, or whatever, (he) is going to be in the Songwriters Hall of Fame," Rob Thomas said before the ceremony.
Other performers ranged from James Taylor to the cast of the recently revived "Hair," whose composers were also inducted.
Kara DioGuardi, the "American Idol" judge and songwriter, said the Songwriters Hall is important because composers still don't get enough recognition.
"A lot of the public still considers artists to be the only people that write their songs. They don't even think there could be another songwriter. They just think whoever is singing it, wrote it," she said.
Crosby, Stills & Nash, among the acts who wrote their own material, were inducted by singer-songwriter Taylor, a previous Hall of Fame inductee, who performed a medley of their hits.
"They speak for a generation. I know that sounds cliche, but it's really true," he said before the ceremony.
Clint Black honored the British songwriting team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway with their classic "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress." The pair penned many hits, including "You've Got Your Troubles," "My Baby Loves Lovin"' and "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again." They also wrote the Coca-Cola jingle "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."
Chris Daughtry of the multiplatinum band Daughtry inducted Bon Jovi and Sambora afterward; Bon Jovi, with Sambora on a double-neck guitar, performed "Wanted: Dead or Alive," one of Bon Jovi's many signature hits.
Earlier in the evening, Daughtry talked about the impact Bon Jovi had on his band. "They're a huge influence on our career as songwriters, as performers, as people," he said.
Broadway was represented with two inductions: Stephen Schwartz, composer of the hit "Wicked," was inducted by Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik. Schwartz then performed a solo version of "Defying Gravity," the dynamic duet sung by the show's witches Elphaba and Glinda. It took on a much different demeanor with its creator's solitary voice.
The last induction of the evening went to Galt MacDermot, James Rado and Gerome Ragni, writers of the musical "Hair."
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., whose group, The Fifth Dimension, took "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In" to the top of the charts in 1969, were joined on stage by the current Broadway cast for a finale that brought the ceremony's approximately 1,000 guests to their feet.
By John Carucci