The rocker was the toast of the event in Los Angeles, where top acts including Mumford & Sons, Patti Smith, Jackson Browne and Alabama Shakes took the stage to cover Springsteen's greatest hits.
Sir Elton sang a rendition of his track Streets of Philadelphia, while John Legend put a jazz spin on Dancing In The Dark on the piano, and Tim MCGraw belted out Tougher than the Rest with Faith Hill singing harmony.
Funnyman Jon Stewart, the evening's host, credited Springsteen with giving a good name to their home state of New Jersey.
He joked, "We don't have much. We are known mostly as the chief exporter in this country of carcinogens. Bruce Springsteen is all we have."
The dinner also featured an auction, which Springsteen contributed to by offering a signed Telecaster guitar - and he got into the giving spirit by adding a few bonuses to the package.
He told the crowd, "With this guitar comes one free guitar lesson from me. That's right. One free lesson. One hour. And a ride in the sidecar of my Harley Davidson. So dig in!"
The instrument sold to an unidentified woman for $250,000 (£156,000), reports the New York Times.
MusiCares provides financial aid and medical care to musicians who have fallen on hard times.