The music industry’s default setting switched to mourning again at the end of last year, when the death of George Micheal was announced late on Christmas Day.
While the inconclusive coroner’s reports are still causing mutters on the rumour mill, some have chosen to ignore the disrespectful whispers and instead pay tribute to the late, great pop icon.
No tribute has been directly delivered with more respect and heartfelt emotion than by British comedian, James Corden.
Speaking on The Late Late Show With James Corden, the comedian spoke of how Michael’s music was a comfort to him in hard times.
Corden was visibly choked up as he said:
I’ve loved George Michael as long as I’ve loved music, in a way, and I know so many of his fans feel the same. I can remember so many specific times in my life when I might’ve felt on my own and George’s music… It would feel like you’d listen to a song and he would reach his hand out and tell you that you weren’t on your own and that these feelings were not particular to you.
The Gavin & Stacey writer and star continued to describe his first encounter with the former Wham! frontman:
There was some really sad news over Christmas that hit me really hard: The passing away of George Michael.
I think it hit me really hard because I was lucky enough, back in 2011, to meet George and spend some time with him because he’d very kindly agreed to do a sketch for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day.
I’ll never ever forget it. We talked about music and I felt very privileged to be able to tell him how much his music meant to me.
Of course, we know how the rest of the story goes. George Micheal, a man known for his charitable heart and generosity, agreed to do the sketch.
It became the grounding for James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke; one of the biggest viral series of all time, which has seen other admirable public figures such as Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez sing along to the tunes of the day as Corden drives them around in his car.
Corden said Micheal had ‘really inspired it’, adding that people were initially reluctant to appear in the viral videos.
The comedian explained that all changed when Mariah Carey signed up to do Carpool Karaoke – only after she saw the clip of Michael joyfully singing in a tin-can car with Corden – saying, ‘If it’s good enough for George, it’s good enough for me’.
Corden closed his emotional tribute by affirming how much we all owe to George Michael, his generous example, his LGBT activism and mostly, his timeless music.