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Paul McCartney spent June 9, 2018 in Liverpool along with English television host James Corden, filming an instance of Corden’s show “Carpool Karaoke”. He was seen in Penny Lane, at his old house in Forthlin Road, on Pier Head taking a photo with a younger self. The TV show was first broadcast on June 21. The day ended with a gig at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms pub.
Ok, so here it is. Quite possibly the best #CarpoolKaraoke we’ve done so far. I hope you like it. I’ll never ever forget it. Take a breath and jump in https://youtu.be/QjvzCTqkBDQ xJames Corden – from Twitter, June 22, 2018
About Carpool Karaoke, from Wikipedia:
Carpool Karaoke is a recurring segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden in which James Corden, the host of the show, invites famous musical guests to sing along to their songs with him whilst he is driving on a planned route usually in Los Angeles, under the pretense of needing to get to work and preferring to use the high-occupancy vehicle lane.
As related by James Corden and also by Paul McCartney and his publicist, it required a lot of convincing to get Paul McCartney on the show, and he was ready to pull out a few times, before deciding to do it.
From New York Post, June 15, 2018:
James Corden says it took a campaign of “military precision” to line up his biggest “Carpool Karaoke” segment yet — with Paul McCartney […]
“It’s never that he’s difficult, ever, it’s that it’s what you’re dealing with,” says Corden of McCartney, who’s expected to drop his latest album any day now. “You know, quite possibly he’s one of the most famous people on planet Earth and certainly one of the most respected … I take great pride, and it’s a testament to the power of the segment — we’ve been having this discussion for about six months — that he would want people to hear some of his newest work and come back with such a bang [on ‘Carpool Karaoke’]. When we talked about it there was a lot of back and forth about logistical things and then it essentially came down to Paul and I getting on the phone together and me explaining our vision for [the segment]. To go and film it in Liverpool, I feel like we had to make it like something no one has seen on television.” […]
“I’ve never really witnessed anything like it,” Corden says when asked about the reaction of passersby (many of whom posted photos of Corden and McCartney on social media when they shot the segment last Saturday). “I’ve always heard the phrase ‘traffic came to a standstill’ and I always thought that would be an exaggeration until traffic genuinely came to a standstill. There was one moment when were stood in the bus shelter on Penny Lane and no cars were moving and no horns were beeping — it was just a mass of people looking at Paul and every single person there wanted to shake his hand. I’ve never seen someone get mobbed so respectfully. People wanted to thank him for what he’s given to them. Just to watch it happen was beautiful.”
Corden had met McCartney before, and says he actually inspired the “Carpool Karaoke” segment, which has, over the years, included Elton John, Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber and Stevie Wonder.
“The first time I met Paul was on a sketch for a charity in the UK called Comic Relief,” he says. “That sketch was pretty much the birth of ‘Carpool Karaoke,’ myself and George Michael singing in a car on the way to a sketch that Paul was featured in. Any time I’ve been in [McCartney’s] orbit I’ve loved every second. I’ll never forget doing this. I just felt sort of blown away by the whole experience.” (Corden says the segment likely won’t air Monday night, McCartney’s 76th birthday, since it needs more editing time.) […]
From Variety, June 11, 2018:
June 9 was shaping up to be just another Liverpool Beatles tour workday for tour guide Jackie Spencer, who takes fans to sites in the Fab Four’s hometown. But when the small group stopped at the statue of the four Beatles on the Liverpool waterfront, two very unexpected guests joined them, she said.
“We’d had a lovely morning. I had four people with me, from Washington State and California, and we were finishing the tour by the new statues,” said Spencer in a phone interview Sunday. “There was a couple of paparazzi around and we said to one of them, ‘Who’s the celebrity in town?’ We’d heard rumors but nobody would tell us. And then this guy said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you one of them: It’s James Corden. He’s with somebody else and they’re in that car over there.’”
That’s when things got interesting. “And the next minute,” she said, “this black car pulls up and both Paul McCartney and James Corden get out of it!” A rep for McCartney confirmed to Variety that the two were filming an episode of “Carpool Karaoke” that will air next week, although it’s unclear whether the segment will air part of “The Late Late Show” or the standalone “Carpool Karaoke.”
Spencer said McCartney usually visits the city for the graduation of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), of which he is a co-founder, and those visits are usually known in advance. “This visit was a shock because we didn’t know he was here. And he just walked to us as we were taking the pictures. About 30-40 people were around, maybe. And he just stood and got pictures with everybody at the statue. He stood by himself.”
She said she believed it was his first visit to the statues, which were sculpted by Andrew Edwards and unveiled in 2015 for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ final concert in the city.
“He was being really nice to everybody. He was backing people in so they could get pictures with him. He and James Corden were taking selfies. And they just walked back, got in the car and disappeared off and went ’round Liverpool. It was fabulous.”
Besides the visit to the statues, he and Corden dropped by Penny Lane, where he put his autograph on one of the street signs and visited his birth home at 20 Forthlin Road. Spencer said someone at the house told her that he went into the house and played ‘When I’m 64’ on the piano. […]
James Corden remembered the whole story in details in a 2021 interview:
The Paul McCartney carpooling in Liverpool which was just thrilling and it was really difficult getting it over the line…
How do you pitch that to Paul McCartney? How do you say like “we’re gonna sit in a car, you’re gonna sing with me”?
He knew about the segment, and we had a good relationship with Paul, because he was actually in the very sketch for the red nose day that started with George Michael. And we talked through people, managers, publicists, all these things, and then Paul said he’d like to get on the phone, then we had a chat with him, and he said “I’m in, I’ll do it, I can’t wait”, and we were like “HAAAAAA”, and we pitched him to go to Liverpool and we’d drive around and this big gig at the end. and then I think it was about a month later, a message came to us that he cancelled, he didn’t want to do it, he’d got cold feet for some reason. Then he was back in again two weeks later. His people have managed to talk to him and he was back in. And then about, I want to say, 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 around 1am, and did that thing that we all shouldn’t do, which is just wake up and immediately look at my phone, and 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”. For some reason, and I’ve never really done this before, normally I would always sort of consult with Ben or Rob and people at the show “what should we do, how do we respond to this”… And I thought I’m just gonna send him an email and I just wrote him an email saying I think that this is unacceptable… I said I completely respect your decision not to do it, but I need you to understand what the knock-on effect is for our show. We have flown people to Liverpool scouting these locations for pubs, we had people there, we just don’t have a budget that can sustain that sort of expense without a finished product. And I said “look, Paul, I guarantee you, I promise you, this will be great and the reason it will be great is because you, Paul McCartney, you’ve written songs that mean more to people than any of us would ever be able to comprehend. And I urge you to reconsider but if you can’t, I respect it, but I would ask you to come and do something in return when we bring our show to London because we were going to play our last show about London… And the next day he said, “All right I’m sorry, I just had a wobble, I’m back in, I’ll do it”. And then even on the morning of the shoot, you know, we’re in this hotel, and he said himself “I don’t want to be doing this”, “I’m a Beatle”, you know, and he said, “can I talk to you for a minute”. And I said sure and we went off into this like a walk-in closet in this hotel room, and a big thing we talked about was going back to his family home when he grew up and he said “I don’t want to go into my house, I haven’t been there since I left, I feel uncomfortable with it, I just don’t want to do it”. I was thinking okay, and I just went “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, so don’t stress about anything, I’m not going to say a word whether you want to go or not, we’ll figure it out but just focus on enjoying it”. And now you know, I don’t want to echo Ben’s Lady Gaga story but Paul had never had a solo number one in America before, and when the album went to number one in that summer, he sent me… He actually called me but I couldn’t pick it up because my daughter was in the bathroom… And I got a text saying “we did it, thank you for convincing me to do it, I had a blast and we’re all just immensely proud of it”. So if I had to pick a moment, because of the journey that it went on and then just how it felt that day, I never expected it to be as moving as it was singing Penny Lane driving down Penny Lane with Paul McCartney.James Corden – From PaleyFest LA 2021 – The Late Late Show with James Corden Exclusive Press Clip – YouTube, March 31, 2021
And here’s the version from Stuart Bell, Paul’s publicist:
Now with the benefit of hindsight, seeing the reaction to the incredibleCarpool Karaokeslot Paul filmed with James Corden, it looks like a no-brainer. Pairing our favourite music legend with someone as hilarious, engaging and enthusiastic as James has to be a stroke of genius. Well, it wasn’t quite so straightforward. Paul was not actually convinced that it would work or that the level of preparation was possible in the time available – or even worth it. Would he measure up to past guests? In his words: “I looked at what was going to be involved – I would need to rehearse with the band for a week because we hadn’t been playing, and then there was going to be a day in Liverpool, and a day in London. I just suddenly thought, ‘Oh, it’s all too much’.” Paul was actually on the verge of pulling out until James wrote a heartfelt email and then things began to click into place although he was still apprehensive. “Yeah, I just had doubts about it. So right up until the moment we got in the car, I was a bit moany. But anyway, the minute I got in, it became fun and really just got better and better and better and better.”
You probably already know what happened, but it was funny, touching and illuminating as Paul revisited his childhood stomping grounds and some of the places which inspired him – his early home, the barber shop in Penny Lane which featured in the song of the same name – plus a truly jaw-dropping surprise pub gig. When the programme was screened on TV and online just 12 days later on June 21 (and a day after the first new songs I Don’t Knowand Come On To Mewere revealed), the reaction was incredible. It became the most watched Late Night clip on Facebook ever recorded with well over 100 million views, so Paul knew he had done the right thing. As he says: “I’m very glad I did it. I’ve had the most random people sending me texts and messages, or stopping me in the street. Everywhere I go, someone says, ‘Oh, by the way, I liked your Carpool’. It feels like everyone in the world has seen it.”Stuart Bell – from For Whom The Bell Tells: Freshen Up Tour– Canada 2018 | PaulMcCartney.com, January 11, 2019
Paul McCartney about visiting 20 Forthlin Road, from Variety, June 20, 2018:
McCartney told BBC interviewer Jo Whiley Wednesday that doing the “Carpool Karaoke” segment was fun, but going back to his childhood home was an emotional experience. “They’ve made (it) into a National Trust house and I’d always heard about it and what I would do normally when I’m up in Liverpool, I’ll just drive up and pull up outside it and then say to whoever I’m with in the car, “OK, that was my old room there, this is where we used to live” and I’ll tell them a few stories and I’d drive off – I’d never go in. But James wanted to go in, so for the first time since I lived there, we went in and wow – it was kind of shocking,” he said. “But it was great. It was really exciting to go round – ‘Oh, there’s where my dad washed the dishes’ and all this. It sparked off a lot of nice memories for me.”
Paul McCartney, about the whole Carpool Karaoke experience, from the Freshen Up tour book:
YOU MADE EVEN MORE HEADLINES IN THE EARLY SUMMER WHEN YOUR APPEARANCE ON ‘CARPOOL KARAOKE’ WENT GLOBALLY VIRAL GENERATING MILLIONS OF VIEWS. AND IT’S BEEN DESCRIBED BY TV CRITICS AROUND THE WORLD AS THE TV MOMENT OF THE YEAR. WERE YOU TAKEN ABACK BY THAT REACTION?
Paul McCartney: I was actually. And to tell you the truth, I almost bottled out because I looked at what was going to be involved – I would need to rehearse with the band for a week because we hadn’t been playing, so I knew we’d have to get up to speed. And then there was going to be a day in Liverpool, and a day in London. I just suddenly thought: “Oh, it’s all too much…” So I kind of reneged on my half-promise to James Corden that I would do it. And I was about to pull out. But then he wrote me a really nice note saying how his team were so high when I said I’d do it, and now they were so low… And I felt bad, so I said: “OK, let’s do it, but let’s just keep it to Liverpool, and just do the five days rehearsal.” But on the morning of it, I was still thinking, “This isn’t going to work out”. Because I’d seen a few of the other ‘Carpool Karaokes’, and thought, “Wow, they’re really good – I don’t know if I can get up to that level.”
REALLY? YOU DIDN’T THINK YOU’D BE GOOD ENOUGH?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, I just had doubts about it. So right up until the moment we got in the car, I have to admit, I was a bit moany! But now I feel really sorry for James and his producer- they did not need somebody moaning before they did it! So I do keep planning to write him a letter to apologise for putting him through that. But anyway, the minute I got in the car it became fun and really just got better and better and better and better.
AND IT WAS A DEEPLY PERSONAL JOURNEY FOR YOU TOO, RIGHT?
Paul McCartney: Yeah. I was a bit apprehensive about going back into the house where I used to live because I hadn’t been back there literally since I used to live there full-time. And also the Penny Lane barber’s – I haven’t actually been in that shop. I’d written about it with John, but we’d never actually been and had our hair cut there. So that became a real joy, just visiting all these old places and going into my old house. That was, like, wow. It was so great I can’t describe how I felt. It was so many feelings of nostalgia for my family, all sorts of little memories of how we used to keep the condensed milk in that cupboard there… Silly little memories. But they all came flooding back.
AND THEN, ONE OF YOUR SMALLEST GIGS IN WHO KNOWS HOW MANY YEARS…
Paul McCartney: Yeah, in the pub! Surprising people from behind the curtain – I hoped that was good, and I enjoyed it, it worked out as a good show. Then a few days later they showed me the edited version and I must say I was really blown away. I thought, “Oh, this works, this is really nice.” And of course when James got emotional in front of the cameras, that was a moment of deep emotion out of the blue. So it was a special day all round, and I’m very glad I did it. And as you say, the reaction to it! I’ve had the most random people sending me texts and messages, or stopping me in the street. Everywhere I go just now, someone says: “Oh, by the way, I liked your Carpool!” Even in the gym the other day, someone said: “l loved your performance.” And I said: “What do you mean, my headstand?” He said: “No, your Carpool!” It feels like everyone in the world has seen it. So, yeah, I was very pleased to do it.Paul McCartney – from interview for the Freshen Up tour book, 2019
In addition to the below list of songs sung in the car, some songs recorded at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms pub were played as well in the TV show – those are “A Hard Day’s Night“, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da“, “Love Me Do“, “Back In The U.S.S.R.“, “Hey Jude“.
Last updated on April 8, 2021
Setlist for the concert