Cee Lo Green rang in the New Year on Saturday night in controversial fashion, stirring up John Lennon fans by changing the words to the late Beatles‘ iconic song, “Imagine.” On stage at Times Square on New Year’s Eve, instead of singing the original, “Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too,” Cee Lo decided to change the last stanza to, “And all religion’s true.” Not only did Cee Lo take it upon himself to essentially change the whole meaning of the song — which envisages a world without any borders, including race, sex and religion, that relies on common humanity to bind people — he also did so wearing a lavish fur coat and sunglasses, which only added to the vitriol Cee Lo received.
Fans took to Twitter to vent their frustration; @ElayneBoosler Tweeted, “If Cee Lo Green is going to sing ‘nothing 2 kill or die 4′, he shouldn’t b wearing FUR when he does. Shallow asshat. #tailsofjoy,” while @Ash_Brew wrote, “John Lennon is turning over in his grave as Cee Lo Green butchers ‘Imagine’ in Times Square,” and @Franky_1189 said, “Thanks Cee Lo Green, you just destroyed an amazing song and ended 2011 on a horrible note. Literally. #imagine.” Cee Lo allegedly Tweeted an apology, “Yo I meant no disrespect by changing the lyric guys! I was trying to say a world were u could believe what u wanted that’s all,” however the remorseful Tweet appears to have been since taken down and replaced with a simple “Happy new year everyone!!!!!!”
With Lennon fans perturbed and a general sense of “Why?” dominating discussions, Cee Lo has come under scrutiny for the decision, but we’re not sure whether we think Cee Lo should have kept the song intact or if, in keeping with the message of the song, we should respect everyone’s beliefs and interpretation equally. Tell us what you think in the comments.