There was laughter. There were tears. There was Beatles music. And there was Paul McCartney on an intimate, rocking and highly personal car tour of Liverpool with James Corden.
This is an absolute must for all Beatles fans: “Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke” with James Corden of “The Late Late Show.”
The 24-minute episode was broadcast on CBS and is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjvzCTqkBDQ.
How to we begin to count the highlights? Consider these:
McCartney jumps in Corden’s SUV in Liverpool and says, “I’ll show you around.” Then the two English dudes start singing, “Drive My Car.” It’s almost as freaky as it is cool. I mean, Sir Paul McCartney driving in Liverpool singing “Drive My Car.” Wow!!!!
And it only gets better.
Corden asks McCartney about the first song he wrote.
“I was 14,” Macca says. “It was called, ‘I Lost My Little Girl.’”
McCartney sings with an early rock beat: “Woke up late this morning/My head was in a whirl/Only then I realized/I lost my little girl.”
Next stop, Penny Lane.
The song comes on the car radio. McCartney and Corden start singing. Then they stop and get out of the car near a brick wall with a Penny Lane sign painted on it. McCartney autographs the sign and then takes a selfie with Corden in front of it.
Paul McCartney plays a piano in his old house in Liverpool while speaking with James Corden.
When people see McCartney’s signature, “no one will believe it,” Corden says.
Back in the car, they pass a church.
“I used to be in the choir of that church,” says Paul. “And my brother got married in that church.”
Then they spot a barber shop on Penny Lane, looking for a customer who needs a shave.
Stop the car. Go into the barber shop. Paul greets a stunned shop owner and she sits him in a chair and works on his hair.
Paul then goes out on the street with Corden. They go to a bus stop and Paul starts playing the harmonica and singing.
Back in the car. Corden asks if McCartney expected the Beatles’ music to last this long, because it’s still so relevant today.
“We expected it to last 10 years,” McCartney says. “But it keeps going on and on and on. It keeps being relevant.”
Next comes the emotional tale of “Let It Be” as the two continue driving through Liverpool.
“I had a dream in the ’60s about my mom (Mary), who had died,” McCartney says. “She came to me in a dream and was reassuring me, saying, ‘It’s going to be OK – just let it be.’
“I felt so good. She gave me positive words. I woke up and I said, ‘That’s good.’ So I wrote the song ‘Let It Be.’”
Corden became emotional. There were tears in his eyes.
“That’s the most beautiful story I’ve ever heard,” he said.
Then, he and McCartney – who seem moved himself – started singing, “Let It Be.” They continued driving as Corden spoke: “It got me, it was so emotional.”
“That’s the power of music,” McCartney said.
Corden then told the story of how his grandfather and father first played the song for him and called it “the best song you will ever hear.”
“I wish my grandad were here now – he would get such a kick out of this,” a teary-eyed Corden said.
“He is,” McCartney replied.
Next stop: McCartney’s old home where he grew up and left around the age of 20.
“I’ve never been in here since I lived here,” McCartney, 76, said.
They walk into a small room off the kitchen where McCartney said he and John Lennon would write songs.
“This is where we wrote ‘She Loves You,’” McCartney says. “We played it for my dad (James). He said: ‘It’s very nice,’ but added there was too much American slang in the song.”
“Couldn’t you just say, ‘She loves you, yes, yes yes,’” McCartney said his father told him.
The old home and trip around Liverpool brought out a nostalgic feeling for the onetime Beatle.
“It makes me realize how long the journey has been,” McCartney said. The house and Liverpool was “my life,” he added. “I used to get up and go to school – here.”
Then came some lyrics from a “A Day In the Life:” “Got up/Got out of bed/Dragged a comb across my head…”
“That’s me,” McCartney said.
Then he stepped into a small bathroom, with barely enough room for a toilet.
“That’s the acoustic chamber,” McCartney said. Then he started singing an impromptu song: “Everything sounds better in the bath.”
The house tour ended near the living room, where McCartney sat down at an old piano and played “When I’m 64” as Corden sang along.
They drove down the road singing, “Blackbird.” Next came a song off McCartney’s new album, “Egypt Station,” a rocker called “Come On To Me.”
The final stop on Paul’s magical mystery tour came at a Liverpool pub.
“We’re going to give you people the surprise of your lives,” Corden told the customers.
Then, in front of an unsuspecting crowd of about 20 people, Paul McCartney and his band suddenly and shockingly appeared from behind a curtain on a small stage.
As soon as the first chord of “Hard Day’s Night” echoed through the pub, the place went crazy. Soon the pub was packed and a huge crowd gathered out on the street.
McCartney and his band ripped through abbreviated versions of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Love Me Do,” and “Back in the USSR.”
“Hey Paul, want a drink,” Corden asked from behind the bar. “I’ll have a beer,” McCartney replied.
So Corden and the customers passed the beer up to the stage and McCartney held it above his head in a toast to the crowd.
Paul then called Corden to the stage to join him in singing “Hey Jude.” Corden and much of the crowd looked to be shedding tears of joy as they sang along.
Minutes later, the trip back to Liverpool was over for Paul McCartney. He stepped outside and waved to his fans and gave them a peace sign before leaving home once more.