Cee Lo Green Posts, Then Deletes Apology For Changing Lennon’s “Imagine” Lyrics
With just minutes left in 2011, Cee Lo Green took the stage for NBC’s “New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” and performed John Lennon’s classic song “Imagine”. Normally, I can’t stand it when anyone covers a Beatles song of a Lennon song, but Cee Lo didn’t do a terrible job. While I was watching it, I was doing several things at once I didn’t catch the fact that Cee Lo took some artistic liberty and changed one of the most iconic lines in the song. Good thing I missed it, otherwise I would have rang in the New Year very ticked off.
Instead of the usual line, “Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too,” Cee Lo sang, “Nothing to kill or die for/And all religion’s true.” To some, that may seem like a minor change, and a good sentiment to wish for others. But to fans of Lennon, it was inexcusable. After his performance, Cee Lo’s Twitter account was flooded with complaints that his change in lyrics ruined the song, and also disrespected Lennon and his original message. Cee Lo responded to the criticisms by tweeting,
“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.”
His apology has since been deleted from his Twitter feed. Guess he wasn’t all that sorry. But this does bring up a good question. Are there songs that are so iconic that they are off limits to artistic liberties and interpretations? With songs like “Imagine”, “American Pie”, “Wonderful World”; is it OK for a singer to change the lyrics, and possibly the original message of the song?