The Beatles Top TV Moments: 10. Carpool Karaoke
Hey there, The Beatles fans! Join us in our 10-day countdown to the premiere of The Beatles: Get Back on Disney+, sizing up the 10 greatest TV moments in the long and winding history of the lads from Liverpool.
This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s The Beatles on TV Special Collector’s Edition, available for order online now at BeatlesonTV.com and for purchase on newsstands nationwide.
10. Carpool Karaoke
June 21, 2018, CBS
The Big Picture
America rides shotgun on a magical musical tour — led by Paul McCartney.
Behind the Scenes
Late Late Show host James Corden created the inspiration for Carpool Karaoke back in 2011 when he drove around London singing songs with George Michael. Since then he’s taken vocal spins with artists such as Billie Eilish, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rod Stewart, Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, and Bruno Mars.
Getting Paul McCartney to join for a 2018 segment took some doing. McCartney got cold feet several times, right up to the day of filming. Corden told him, “Paul, your only day’s work today is to have a great time…. All that’s expected of you is to have a blast. And if you have a great time, this is going to work.”
The two hopped in a car and started driving around McCartney’s hometown of Liverpool, passing by old haunts like St. Barnabas’ Church, where he sang as a choirboy.
Soon they were singing old Beatles tunes together — “Drive My Car,” “Penny Lane” (they stopped the car so that McCartney could autograph a Penny Lane street sign) and “Let It Be.” That last song brought tears to Corden’s eyes because his grandfather had long ago told the boy it was the best song ever.
The pair visited the Penny Lane barbershop where the Fab Four routinely got their mop tops trimmed, as well as Paul’s boyhood home on Forthlin Road, where he banged out “When I’m Sixty-Four” on an old piano and showed Corden the bathroom where he once practiced singing “She Loves You.”
Back on the road, the two sang “Come On to Me” from McCartney’s album Egypt Station and stopped for a pint at the Philharmonic pub, where the Beatles had gigged nearly six decades before. After Corden enticed unsuspecting patrons to choose songs on the Beatles-heavy jukebox, Paul and his band emerged from behind a curtain and launched into an impromptu concert, banging out favorites such as “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Love Me Do” and “Back in the U.S.S.R.” For “Hey Jude,” McCartney invited Corden onstage to help with vocals. Joy was in the eyes of everyone there — patrons young and old, Corden and McCartney.
The two exited the pub and faced an adoring crowd. As they drove off, the camera switched back to the Late Late Show audience, also singing along to the song that has united generations.
A couple of months after the segment aired, Egypt Station was released. It started off at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 — McCartney’s first debut in the top spot as a solo artist.
Why It Matters
James Corden proved to the world that the joy of the Beatles songbook never fades away.
See It Today
The Beatles: Get Back, Documentary Premiere, November 25–27, Disney+