Paul McCartney‘s iconic Carpool Karaoke segment almost never happened, James Corden revealed. In an appearance at PaleyFest LA, per HuffPost, The Late Late Show host admitted that it wasn’t so easy to get the famous Beatle to appear in his show’s popular bit, but explained how he managed to convince one of music’s biggest stars to hop in his car and sing some tunes.
“We had a chat with him and he said, ‘I’m in, I’ll do it. I can’t wait,’” Corden began, explaining that the plan was to drive around Liverpool with McCartney by his side. But of course, it wasn’t so simple. After his eager commitment to the segment, McCartney was quick to have second thoughts. “About a month later, a message came to us that he’d canceled and didn’t want to do it and got cold feet for some reason,” Corden said.
What followed was a chaotic back-and-forth exchange between Corden’s and McCarney’s camps. “Then he was back in again two weeks later, his people have managed to talk to him and he’s back in,” Corden said. “And then about eight or nine days before we were due to fly to Liverpool to do it, it was one of those nights where I woke up at about 1 a.m. and did that thing that we all shouldn’t do, which is just wake up and immediately look at my phone.”
And you guessed it — McCartney pulled out again. “There was an email saying, ‘Look, I’m so sorry, I don’t know how to write this. Paul has changed his mind. He just feels that this is the wrong sort of thing for him right now. He’d still like to do it one day.’” While Corden said he would normally consult with his Late Late Show team to come up with a reply, he decided to take matters into his own hands and send an email to McCartney himself, telling the musician it was “unacceptable” to bail so late in the process.
“I said, ‘I completely accept your decision not to do it, but I need you to understand what the … effect is for our show. We have flown people to Liverpool … we just don’t have a budget that can sustain that sort of expense without a finished product.’” Corden insisted the segment would be “great” because of McCartney’s legacy and impact. And sure enough, McCartney replied saying he was back in, but even the morning of the shoot brought some problems.
“He said himself, he still was thinking, ‘I don’t want to be doing this. I’m a Beatle,’ you know?’” Corden said. After the two had a conversation about what the shoot would entail, Corden told McCartney to “just focus on enjoying it,” and the gig was back on. When the segment finally filmed, it included hits like “Penny Lane” sung on Penny Lane and a “Let It Be” duet.
And at the end of it all, McCartney didn’t seem to have any regrets. “We did it. Thank you for convincing me to do it,” he texted Corden after his Carpool Karaoke appearance aired. “I had a blast.”
Watch the full interview with Corden on the HuffPost website.
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