Lady Gaga in Moving Tribute to 'Big Man' at Little Kids Rock

Lady Gaga in Moving Tribute to 'Big Man' at Little Kids Rock

At Thursday night's Little Kids Rock benefit at New York's Edison Ballroom, surprise guest

In addition to a silent auction featuring signed drumsticks by Ringo Starr and signed guitars by Slash and Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, the event featured a spirited live auction hosted by Jim Kerr of New York classic rock station Q104.3. After auctioning off a signed Stan Lee Spider-Man guitar ($7,000), a signed Lady Gaga keytar, a pair of Gaga earrings and a private meet-and-greet with the singer ($21,000), organizers auctioned a dinner for two with Van Zandt and wife Maureen, culminating in a bidding war between a guest and Lady Gaga herself. Gaga eventually won, topping out at $13,000, but requested one condition: The restaurant must be Parma on New York's Upper East Side where, as a struggling artist, the singer used to wait tables on Van Zandt.

The event, which sold tables from $5,000 to $50,000, culminated with Van Zandt and the program's graduates performing "I Don't Want to Go Home," the 1976 track written and produced by Van Zandt for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Little Kids Rock was founded in 1996 by San Francisco elementary school teacher David Wish and has grown into one of the largest free music programs in the country. In addition to providing music education and instruments, the program has brought musicians such as Paul Simon, Slash, Tom Waits and Bonnie Raitt to classrooms around the country.

"Not every kid will find music," Squier told Billboard after the event. "But you want to give them a chance to find it. It's an unadulterated, untarnished program."