Generosity ruled once again. “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” set records for donations Friday night, raising more than $57 million in one day, not including digital sales of the performances.
The sales of “Hope for Haiti Now” will add a significant donation as well. The album of the performances became the biggest one-day pre-order album in iTunes history, reaching No. 1 in 18 countries. The first single “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)” from Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge and Rihanna quickly became No.1 in the U.S. and 11 other countries. Though it has since dropped off, Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris’ “Hallelujah” is now showing solid sales.
For such a well-run, tightly scripted telethon, “Hope for Haiti Now” certainly had its share of surprises.
Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge and Rihanna, “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour): For a quartet this flashy, “Stranded” was remarkably muted and atmospheric. Though Jay-Z still manages to bluntly get his points across in his rhymes, the overall effect is subtle and far more substantial than the average benefit single pulled together within days. That Jay gets all the verses and Bono sings harmony to Rihanna’s lead makes it feel that much more unexpected.
Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris feat. Charlie Sexton, “Hallelujah”: It could have been seen as a shameless attempt by Justin Timberlake to promote his friend Matt Morris, who also happens to be signed to his label Tenman Records. However, the way their voices meshed on the Leonard Cohen classic made the duet organic and memorable, leading to a whole lot of people asking, “Who’s that?” The great Charlie Sexton on guitar certainly didn’t hurt.
Christina Aguilera, “Lift Me Up”: Well, I guess we know what her new single is going to be. “Lift Me Up” was stunning in the way Aguilera’s “Beautiful” was, with her powerful voice showcasing equally powerful lyrics.
Shakira feat. The Roots, “I’ll Stand By You”: With all the lyrical loopiness and the hip-shaking, Shakira’s singing sometimes gets overlooked. Not only did she do well by the amazing Pretenders ballad, she gave it her own memorable twists.
SETLIST: Alicia Keys - Prelude to a Kiss / Coldplay - A Message / Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome / Stevie Wonder - A Time to Love/Bridge Over Troubled Water / Shakira - I'll Stand by You / John Legend - Motherless Child / Mary J. Blige - Hard Times Come Again No More / Taylor Swift - Breathless / Christina Aguilera - Lift Me Up / Sting - Driven To Tears / Beyoncé - Halo / Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban and Kid Rock - Lean on Me / Madonna - Like a Prayer / Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris - Hallelujah / Jennifer Hudson - Let It Be / Emeline Michel - Many Rivers To Cross/ Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge and Rihanna - Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour) / Neil Young and Dave Matthews - Alone and Forsaken / Wyclef Jean - Rivers of Babylon
PHOTO: Bruce Springsteen performs "We Shall Overcome" at "Hope for Haiti Now" benefit by Evan Agostini for Associated Press