James Corden honored his departed friend George Michael on The Late Late Show last night, where he told the audience a story about how the icon helped to inspire the now-ubiquitous Carpool Karaoke. “I feel like I've loved George Michael as long as I’ve kind of loved music," the host said.

The two first met in 2011 for a sketch during U.K. charity Comic Relief's Red Nose Day, with Corden explaining: 

"The idea was that a character from a sitcom I was in at home was driving to the offices of Comic Relief to try and save Red Nose Day. And we had come up with this idea to have me and George Michael singing in a car. And it was the first time I’d sung in a car with anybody. It’s become quite a big part of my life now, and he inspired it.”

He also revealed that Mariah Carey was the first person to agree to do Carpool Karaoke after she saw the clip of him and Michael rocking out to Wham!'s 1986 hit "I'm Your Man." "Her words were, 'If it’s good enough for George, it’s good enough for me,'" the host said. Carey recently appeared in a Christmas version of Carpool Karaoke.

George Michael died on Christmas Day at the age of 53 due to a heart failure.