Imagine finding yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile with Paul McCartney in the passenger seat singing Drive My Car (then, through the magic of editing, switching seats so both of you get to be the driver). Picture yourself cruising down Penny Lane while Macca sings along to his famous song about this Liverpool street, interspersed by McCartney anecdotes. James Corden experienced this when Sir Paul McCartney appeared on his popular Late Late Show segment, Carpool Karaoke.
Thanks to the afterlife of TV shows and segments on social media, we can also experience it, albeit vicariously. It’s a very informative drive for any Beatles fan and it’s a lot of fun to watch. If you are jealous of Corden, it may help to know that he battled to get McCartney to appear on the show. Carpool Karaoke started in March 2015 with Mariah Carey as the first guest. According to Corden, he wanted McCartney on the show from the beginning, “even if it felt impossible”. Let’s watch:
Aren’t we lucky that McCartney eventually agreed to appear on the show. In 2018, Corden seemed to be making progress, except McCartney kept on backing out of proposed appearances. Eight or nine days before Corden and his team were due to fly to Liverpool, when it looked like they’d finally got their ducks in a row, Corden got an email from McCartney’s representative saying that Sir Paul wished to delay filming indefinitely. Corden panicked.
He wrote back that it was unacceptable for McCartney to pull out so late as too much preparation had been done. “I completely respect your decision not to do it, but I need you to understand what the knock on effect is for our show,” Corden wrote. “I guarantee you, I promise you, that it will be great. And the reason it will be great is that you are Paul McCartney,” he added. The next day Macca replied, “Alright. I’m sorry. I just had a wobble. I’ll do it.” Do you want to see an outtake?
The outtake shows Paul McCartney visiting the Liverpool statues of the four Beatles for the first time. Sculpted by Andrew Edwards, the statues were unveiled in 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the last time the Beatles played in Liverpool.
There is a lot for Beatles and McCartney fans to digest in Macca’s appearance on Carpool Karaoke. The most important section is when Paul McCartney visits 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton, his family home from the age of ten until he was 18 or a little older. McCartney admits to having been reluctant to make the visit, but once he gets inside he relaxes and shows Corden around. In case you’re wondering why the house has a 1960s interior and a piano that McCartney happily plays, the house is now a National Trust property that seeks to preserve the house much as it was when young Paul lived there.
In an interview with the Smartless podcast McCartney said, “I’d never been in my old house since I left. That woman, she’s the keeper of the house. Not a housekeeper. It’s a National Trust thing, so it’s like a museum. She’s like the museum curator…She charged us. Me and James were just leaving, and she said, ‘Well, that’s £5 each.’ I said, ‘No, this is my house!’”.