Thankfully, he happened to be in car—Elton John's car, in Elton John's garage, to be precise. In the Super Bowl 50 edition of CBS' The Late Late Show, the host took the music legend for a drive down memory lane. With John sitting shotgun and a rich catalog to choose from, Corden queued up their road trip playlist, kicking the drive off with the singer-songwriter's 1970 classic "Your Song." Corden couldn't believe how profound the song's lyrics were, so he asked John, "When you write a song like that, do you just know the second it's finished that's a hit record?"
John explained that he co-wrote the song in his parents' apartment in North London after his longtime collaborator, Bernie Taupin, brought him the lyric. "I took it into the living room, sat at the piano, read it thorugh and I went, 'God, this is amazing, for an 18-year-old boy to write this lyric.' I played it to him, and I think when I finished playing, we both realized this was the huge step forward in our songwriting," the rocker said. "We never looked back from that song."
The fast friends sang 1983's "I'm Still Standing" next, and Corden confessed that he never knew John was such a good dancer. John politely refused accept the compliment, telling him, "Arlene Phillips said I was the worst dancer she's ever worked with. Bitch!" Corden wondered if that's why John "used to go so flamboyant" with his stage costumes. John explained that he was never a lead vocalist, like DavidBowie or Mick Jagger, and he never felt like a sex symbol, either. "I had fun with my outfits and I just went for it," he recalled. He and Corden went for it when they wore feather boas and sunglasses in order to properly sing 1973's "Crocodile Rock."
Later on, John confirmed to Corden that he leads a life of excess and buys four of everything, including CDs. John argued that he needs "one for the house here, one for the house in France, one for the house in England and one for the place in Atlanta." While that might make sense to John, Corden suggested a streamlined alternative: "You know you could just get an iPod, right?"
"I don't have a phone," John said.
"What?" Corden asked. "How have you not got a phone?"
"I don't have a phone!" John reiterated.
"So, what do you do then?" Corden asked.
"There's usually a security person with a phone," John replied.
Corden's mind ran wild with the possibilities. "Hang on, so right now I could legitimately kidnap you and you wouldn't be able to call anyone?" he asked. Indeed, Corden could get away with it.
Corden then posed a similar question to one he asked Adele during her carpool karaoke session. "Do you not just wake up every day and go, 'I'm Elton John and I've completely done it, and I've done it, and I'm an absolute legend?'" John said he never looks back, only forward.
"When you hear something by someone new—like when you first hear Ed Sheeran or this girl called Grimes, or there's this girl in Australia called Sarah Blascoe—and whenever you hear something new that inspires you from the young, it makes you feel, 'I'm going to do that. I want to do that.' I still have the energy of a 20-year-old and I want to carry on. I just don't see the point of setting up shop. Once you stop, you die." Hence why he just released Wonderful Crazy Night. "I wanted to make a really joyful album and I wanted to express how I was feeling with my own life," John explained. It was the perfect segue into the next song, 2015's "Looking Up."
For 1994's "The Circle of Life," from Walt Disney's The Lion King soundtrack, Corden decided to wear a lion's mane wig and a nose mask. Midway through, he gave the mane to the main man. The conversation then turned to everything from throwing tantrums to raising two young boys. When they got back to the music, the two selected 1974's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."
Alas, Corden and John reached their final destination.
"Oh, my God," Corden said. "If I could tell my 12-year-old self I would be doing this with my life, it's head would explode. Thank you so much for helping me get to work. I really appreciate it."
The Late Late Show With James Corden airs weeknights at 12:37 a.m.