Cee Lo Green has a point of view he apparently doesn’t share with John Lennon. The “Fu*k You” singer fuc*ked with the lyrics of Lennon’s classic “Imagine” during a New Year’s Eve performance The Beatles’ fans were not amused.
Lennon wrote the song as the opening track on his 1971 album Imagine and it’s since become a seminal rock anthem. Rolling Stone rated it No. 3 on its list of 500 greatest songs of all time.
During a Times Square performance, Green changed the lyrics on a key phrase in the song.
Instead of singing as Lennon wrote: “Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too,” Green sang, “Nothing to kill or die for, and all religion’s true.”
The song was central to Lennon’s political philosophy at that time. With “Imagine” we’re asking, “can you imagine a world without countries or religions?” It’s the same message over and over. And it’s positive,” he explained in a 1980 Playboy interview.
Central to Lennon’s belief was that we are all one country, one world, one people.
Rolling Stone attached even more meaning to the song in its tribute: [It’s] “an enduring hymn of solace and promise that has carried us through extreme grief, from the shock of Lennon’s own death in 1980 to the unspeakable horror of Sept. 11.”
Among those weighing in on Twitter was comic Colin Quinn. “Cee Lo covered Imagine but at least he ‘cleaned it up a little.’ I did the same thing when I changed NWA to ‘N-word’ WA.”
“Dear Cee Lo: Forget you,” actor Michael McKean Tweeted.
Ironically, Green also sang the song, which includes the lyrics “imagine no posessions” and “no need for greed or hunger,” wearing a fur coat and a trove of expensive jewelry.
Check out his performance below.