Jimi Hendrix

was a guitar god, but at a Saturday night auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC, someone purchased a guitar owned by Hendrix for $480,000.

A guitar.

Fortunately the proceeds go to Music Rising and a good chunk of the raised dough will go to replace musical equipment lost to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"It was the best sale

we've ever done," said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's Auctions, which ran the event.

Music Rising was co-founded by The Edge, the U2 guitarist who donated his favorite instrument, a 1975 Gibson Les Paul that he has played for years. The guitar had been expected to bring $60,000 to $80,000, but it went for nearly four times that.

Other highlights included a pair of Bono sunglasses that went for $24,000, a Bob Dylan guitar that sold for $192,000 and a guitar from Paul McCartney that brought in $81,600.

Ah-nuld 'Pimps' clean air

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger guested on MTV's "Pimp My Ride" yesterday and he wasn't even looking for a kicking sound system.

The Governator was on "Pimp" 's Earth Day episode, for which mechanics installed an 800-horsepower engine in a converted 1965 Chevy Impala. The best part, the engine zooms on renewable biodiesel fuel, which can be made from recycled products such as vegetable oil.

Of course, Schwarzenegger still rides around in gas-guzzling Hummers, but he has reduced his personal fleet to four and two of them run on alternative fuels.

Note to the next mayor (or City Council): Work with the Taxicab & Limousine Commission (gosh, just saying that sounds funny) to provide tax breaks for cabbies or limo owners who switch their cars over to hybrids or biodiesel. And how about discounted permit parking for hybrid drivers? You can thank us with cleaner air.


* British Airways snip-snipped its in-flight version of "Casino Royale," to remove a cameo by Richard Branson, chairman of rival airline Virgin Atlantic.

Big companies can be so petty.

* Lost in the aftermath of the Don Imus firing and the far more horrific and important news that followed is that Imus' longtime producer, Bernard McGuirk, got the boot late last week. McGuirk had been producer of the show for 20 years.

It was often McGuirk's job to egg Imus on until he'd be cut off and labeled a "bald-headed stooge" for leading the I-Man into dangerous territory.

What was Plan B?

* The Hollywood Reporter says Brad Pitt will join his "Ocean's Thirteen" co-star George Clooney in the next Coen brothers black comedy, "Burn After Reading."

It's about a CIA agent who loses the book he's writing.

* In other casting news, the Hollywood Reporter says Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and Christine Baranski are joining Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Allentown-born Amanda Seyfried in the movie adaptation of ABBA's "Mamma Mia!"

The film will shoot June-October in London and Greece (not a bad gig). Afterward Streep will join Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie version of John Patrick Shanley's Tony-winning (and Pulitzer-winning) Broadway drama "Doubt."

* Marvel Comics wants to bring Spider-Man (more comics news on Page 54) to Broadway.

In a musical.

They're sure not skimping on the talent: The music is to be written by Bono and The Edge and the show will be directed by Julie Taymor, who did such an amazing job adapting "The Lion King" to the stage.

* According to Marc Malkin at eonline.com's Planet Gossip, Larry Birkhead's payday from OK! magazine for the first pic of him and Dannielynn, was $1.7 million.

OK!'s editor-in-chief, Sarah Ivens, didn't OK that figure, but replied to Malkin, "All deals [are] private and confidential, but all fees went to a trust fund for the baby."

"Have you seen the feature?" she added. "It's worth every dime!"

Huh? You could buy four guitars for that money.

* The Rolling Stones will rock Belgrade this summer even if their concert at the city's main racetrack distresses hundreds of horses stabled at the venue, concert organizers said Friday.

"Preparations for the July 14 concert are going smoothly, there are no problems," Dejan Maksimovic, of Music Star Productions, told the Associated Press, shrugging off concerns from an animal-rights organization.

While there is fear that noise from the concert will make the horses go wild, wild horses couldn't drag the Stones away.

* Kristine Lefebvre, recently fired on "The Apprentice," will appear in the June Playboy.

Not your usual Playboy pin-up, Kristine is married, a lawyer, a cancer survivor and a nearly-ancient 37 years old.

According to her publicist, Howard Bragman, Kristine said she wants to use the magazine to send a message of support to others with cancer.

Tattle uses the magazine for the articles.

* In other Playboy news, Hugh Hefner's "Girls Next Door," Holly, Bridget and Kendra, have their own workout DVD coming to stores on May 15.

"The Girls Next Door Workout" will show women how to stay in Playboy shape and show men . . . well, you know.

Given that Hef recently celebrated his 81st birthday and is still cavorting with a trio of young, hot blondes, wouldn't it be more helpful to see how he stays in shape. *

Daily News wire services contributed to this report.