Elton John

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It's hard to remember a time when Elton John wasn't a leading voice—and fundraiser—in the fight against AIDS.

But even the "Rocket Man" singer admits he could have come to the table sooner…

"I was a disgrace for not doing anything in the early '80s to help people with AIDS," he said last night during a private concert at gazillionaire Ron Burkle's L.A. estate that benefited the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

He then sang "Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes," a song about a dancer with AIDS in the 1980s.

The event, attended by celebs like Jane Lynch and wife Lara Embry, Jason Mraz, Adam Lambert, Marisa Tomei, Rob Reiner and Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, raised more than $3 million for AFER, the group backing the federal court challenge to California's Prop 8.

"Even though I'm British, I will be at the forefront of anything you guys want," John said. "How crazy is it that I could have a son with my partner but I can't marry my partner?"

Also on on his playlist were "Levon," "Tiny Dancer," "Your Song," "Philadelphia Freedom" and "Candle in the Wind."

One guest said, "Elton was on fire last night."

Meanwhile, Lynch told us she got a congratulatory call from Glee guest star Carol Burnett after she took home a Golden Globe on Sunday. "She said it was extra special when Chris [Colfer] won," Lynch said. "She said she jumped off the couch and screamed. I have to text [Colfer] and tell him that. I haven't seen him in a couple of days."

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