WATCH: James Corden Remembers the Time George Michael Helped Him Invent ‘Carpool Karaoke’

Without George MichaelJames Corden might not have had his “Carpool Karaoke” segment.

Corden paid tribute to the late music legend on The Late Late Show on Tuesday (Jan. 3, 2017) by expressing his personal feelings on Michael’s body of work. “I feel like I’ve loved George Michael as long as I’ve kind of loved music, in a way,” said Corden. “I can remember so many specific times in my life where I might have felt on my own, and George’s music would feel like you would 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.”

Corden recalled his meet-cute with Michael when they were introduced to work on a sketch together for the UK Charity Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day in 2011. Corden took a phone call with him at 3 a.m. due to the time difference between them; Corden was in stationed in London while Michael was in Australia. “It was the weirdest feeling going to bed thinking, ‘When I wake up, it will be because George Michael is on the phone and I’m gonna talk to him about this sketch.'” They spoke for an hour, during which time Corden was able to tell him just how much his music meant to him.

Their sketch together ended up taking place in a car and they sang along to karaoke, which is the exact premise of Corden’s Late Late Show segment “Carpool Karaoke.” Corden revealed that Michael’s appearance in this sketch with him later persuaded Mariah Carey into being the first celebrity guest to take part in the bit. “If it’s good enough for George, then it’s good enough for me,” said Carey upon agreeing to be Corden’s inaugural passenger.

Michael passed away at the age of 53 on Dec. 25, 2016.

Watch Corden’s touching tribute in the video at the top of the page.