Standing alone on a darkened stage, "The Voice" mentor Christina Aguilera opened the NBC telethon, "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together," by singing "Beautiful" Friday night in New York.
Like Aguilera, who was born in Staten Island, many of those taking part had ties to the hard-hit region. The bill includes New Jersey rockers Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi , Long Island singer-songwriter Billy Joel and Aerosmith, whose frontman Steven Tyler grew up in Westchester. Musicians Sting and Mary J. Blige, actors James Gandolfini and Tina Fey and comedians Jimmy Fallon and Jon Stewart also are taking part.
"All it took was just one phone call for many of these people," "Today" host Matt Lauer told "Entertainment Tonight" before the telethon.
Bon Jovi sang "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Who says You Can't Go Home" while Aerosmith did a toned-down version of "Dream On." Joel changed some of the lyrics to "Miami 2017" to reflect the storm's damage. Blige also changed the lyrics when she sang "The Living Proof."
Tyler, Springsteen, Joel and Fallon joined together in a version of "Under the Boardwalk" that prompted Stewart to later joke, "Jimmy Fallon is a bold man to take the lead vocals from Steven Tyler, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel."
Actor Kevin Bacon urged TV viewers to "keep the conversation going on Twitter" as he demonstrated how to text a donation.
Sting sang "Message in a Bottle" and Springsteen and his E Street Band closed out the hour of music with "Land of Hope and Dreams" and "This Train. "
NBC news anchor Brian Williams and Stewart made a final appeal in which Williams observed, "It doesn't look like our Jersey Shore any more,"
NBC isn't alone in coming to the aid of storm victims. Kirstie Alley, Drew Carey, Gary Sinise and Wayne Brady are among the stars who have been recruited by "Entertainment Tonight" to make public service announcements encouraging TV viewers to donate to the American Red Cross. One of the first of these appeared Thursday night on "The Big Bang Theory" on CBS.
CBS also is making a $1 million donation to the Red Cross and matching employee contributions. Earlier this week, Disney, the parent company of ABC, announced a $2 million Red Cross donation and media giant Viacom said it was donating $1 million. News Corp, parent of the Fox network, also is reportedly donating $1million.
ABC also is devoting part of its Monday programming to encourage donations to storm relief efforts.
You can donate to the Red Cross by clicking on this link or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.