Before Carpool Karaoke became a sensational segment on The Late Late Show, George Michael — who died of heart failure at the age of 53 “over the Christmas period” — starred in an early version with James Corden in 2011.
Corden, now 38, appeared alongside the “Faith” singer in a sketch for the charity Comic Relief. In the 13-minute clip, which you can watch above, the late-night host (playing his character Smithy from the British sitcom Gavin & Stacey) rides around in a car, singing along to Michael’s greatest hits with the pop legend himself.
The two men belt out the Grammy winner’s iconic tracks “Freedom” and “I’m Your Man.” Three decades after making his musical debut with Wham! in 1981, Michael’s vocals still sound impressively strong.
Earlier this summer, Corden opened up about filming the scene during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “My original idea was to pick George Michael up from prison in a car,” he said. “And then we realized, ‘Maybe we’ll lose the prison, but what if there’s still some fun for me and George to be in the car and we’ll sing some Wham! songs?’”
Corden was one of the many celebrities who took to Twitter to pay tribute to the “Freedom” crooner. “I’ve loved George Michael for as long as I can remember. He was an absolute inspiration. Always ahead of his time,” the late-night host wrote. “George Michael wrote Praying for Time 25 years ago but I truly believe it’s message means more now than ever.”
As previously reported on Christmas Day, December 25, Michael’s publicist revealed in a statement that the U.K. native “passed away peacefully at his home” in England.
“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” the statement read. “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
Police say the South Central Ambulance Service was called to a property in Oxfordshire, England, just before 2 p.m. on Christmas Day. Authorities say there are no suspicious circumstances involved.
Relive Michael and Corden’s Carpool Karaoke segment above.
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