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James Corden has taken all kinds of musicians out for a ride on his "Late, Late Show" Carpool Karaoke segment. But not have been quite as magical, mystical — or emotional — as Thursday's drive ... with former Beatle Paul McCartney.
Corden is airing shows from London this week, but took a side trip north to the Beatles' hometown of Liverpool, where McCartney, 76, slipped in alongside him for renditions of classic tunes like "Penny Lane," "Blackbird" and "Drive My Car" (which seemed obligatory, given the circumstances). He also launched into a new hit, "Come On to Me," from his forthcoming album "Egypt Station."
"I wrote my first song when I was 14," said McCartney. "It was called, 'I Lost My Little Girl.'" Then he even crooned a bit of it!
And when they actually stopped by the real Penny Lane, they got out so McCartney could add his autograph to one of the signs, and took selfies. Along the way they stopped off in a barbershop (with a barber showing photographs) and met some of the locals on the street. "The last time I was around here, nobody was noticing me at all," McCartney noted.
But it wasn't just about the music; McCartney is loaded with amazing personal and Beatles history that clearly delighted Corden (who wasn't afraid to poke a little fun by dressing up in Beatles outfits, from the mop-top hairstyle to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" colorful military garb).
Then things turned a bit heavier; McCartney said he'd once had a dream where his late mother told him everything would be all right. "Just let it be," he said she told him in the dream, which of course led to one of the band's most beloved songs, "Let It Be."
The pair sang the tune, which left Corden in tears. He noted that his grandfather and his father who played that song for him, and wiped his eyes.
"That's the power of music," McCartney said. "It's weird, isn't it, how it can do that to you."
Since they were in Liverpool, McCartney and Corden stopped by the house where the songwriter had lived as a teenager and where he and John Lennon wrote several hit songs. The house is now a member of the UK National Trust and has been preserved as it was back in the day.
After wandering around the house and noting how the commonplace nature of it inspired his future songs, McCartney invited Corden to the "acoustic chamber," aka the bathroom. "I would spend hours in here with my guitar," said McCartney, taking a seat on the toilet.
Then he took a seat at the piano and sang, "When I'm 64" while fans gathered outside and took photos. One local said his brother was named after McCartney.
Ultimately, they ended up at a pub (which also seemed obligatory) and Corden stepped behind a bar, surprising the patrons with McCartney on stage playing with a band. Instantly, the crowd jumped to their feet and clapped along as the band ran through songs like "Hard Day's Night," "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," "Love Me Do" and "Back in the USSR."
Of course, no McCartney concert would be complete without a rendition of "Hey Jude," and for that he invited Corden to join him. Then it was time for tears and emotional hand waving from the audience as they all sang together on that final, repeating chorus.
Noted Corden, "I think this is an afternoon not one of us will ever forget."
Understatement of the year!
Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.