UPDATED:Once again, music proved its power to move and heal following a disaster.
On Friday night, NBC broadcast Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, a one-hour special benefit telethon to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims.
Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Mary J. Blige, and Bruce Springsteen were among the artists delivering stark, powerful, and intensely personal renditions of songs reflecting the poignancy of people in New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
The event, staged at 30 Rock in midtown Manhattan, aired in the East and Central regions of the country at 8 pm. The West Coast will see it tape-delayed at 8 pm PST.
NBC Night News anchor Brian Williams and fellow Jersey boy Jon Stewart, as well as Jimmy Fallon delivered pleas for donations to the American Red Cross, which is providing food, shelter and other support to those affected by the hurricane and other disasters.
Credit for spurring the hastily organized event into being goes to the Today show’s Matt Lauer, who hosted the special. In an interview with USA Today, Lauer said his on-the-ground reporting Tuesday in Rockaway Beach, Queens, an area hard hit by repeated tragedies, inspired him to suggest the relief effort to NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke.
“I came back and said, ‘We’ve got to do something quickly here,'” Lauer told USA Today. “I feared facing a period next week where the focus would be blurred. We’ve got an election coming up, and I feared people affected by this would be pushed to the side.”
According to Rolling Stone, Springsteen was the first star to sign on. “All I can say is that we were asked and said yes immediately,” says Jon Landau, the New Jersey rocker’s longtime manager.
Lauer called Bon Jovi personally, and The Voice coach Christina Aguilera, already planning to promote her new album in NYC, called her manager and asked how she could help.
“The music industry always finds a way to help,” Springsteen guitarist Steven Van Zandt told CNN. “I’m glad NBC is going to be doing this thing.”
Indeed, it’s a chance for all of us to do something to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
To donate, visit RedCross.org, call 1-800-HELPNOW or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.