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We lost a lot of irreplaceable musical heroes in 2016, but freshest in our minds is the death of pop legend George Michael.

It’s been just over a week since his tragic death, and in that time tributes have poured in, drawing attention to his extraordinary talent as a singer and songwriter, more than 100 million record sales and the artist’s less well publicized philanthropic side.

We were also reminded that Michael was the first ever “karaoke” singer to carpool with James Corden, years before the sketch and Corden would become regular fixtures on The Late Late Show.

Back in 2011, Michael joined the comic actor for the inaugural Carpool Karaoke as part of British charity Comic Relief’s biannual telethon. Corden, in the guise of his character Smithy from Brit-com Gavin & Stacey, gives Michael a lift. After a some initial tension and a few harsh words, the mood is lightened when Smithy turns on the radio and Wham!‘s “I’m Your Man” starts playing.

The rest, as they say, is history. Twenty-eight carpools, more than a billion views, and one Emmy later, the segment has proved so popular it’s being developed into a TV show in its own right.

So it’s only fitting, then, that Corden should offer his own tribute to the superstar. The Late Late Show returned to our screens last night (January 3) after the Christmas break, and James took the opportunity to acknowledge the debt he owes Michael in his opening monologue.

Needless to say, he gets a little emotional:

Want to see more of Corden and Michael singing together? You can watch the entire 2011 sketch here.

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.