Discovering that Lady Gaga is an ardent admirer of Carole King is akin to Axl Rose calling Elton John his hero. But there she was Friday night -- dressed all in white behind a color-matched grand piano -- bringing down the house with a heart-wrenching version of "You've Got a Friend." It was such a show-stopper that "Rocket Man" Elton, who followed Gaga onstage, was relegated to a bathroom break.
But given the deep well of strong material to draw from, the star-studded tribute to King, MusiCares' Person of the Year, consisted mainly of peak moments, beginning with Steven Tyler and LeAnn Rimes turning "Hi-De-Ho," which King co-wrote with her ex Gerry Goffin, into a barn burner.
Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, Sting and Trudie Styler, and longtime King producer Lou Adler, among countless other luminaries, basked in all the good vibrations.
"Holy shit!" exclaimed M.C. Jimmy Kimmel at one point, "I know we're all rich and jaded but we're pretty lucky to be here tonight, right?"
The evening raised $1.5 million for MusiCares, which provides emergency financial assistance and addiction recovery programs to musicians in need.