Cee Lo Publicity Image 2011

Along with Drake, the Goodie Mob rap legend/meme-pop king Cee Lo Green was one of the artists who performed for cameras and drunk be-novelty-spectacled tourists in Times Square on New Years Eve. And during his segment, Cee Lo managed to piss off a whole lot of people by significantly tweaking a line during his cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Rather than singing the original lyric “and no religion too,” the former choirboy sang “all religion is true.” And as Billboard points out, plenty of Lennon fans on Twitter were not happy about Cee Lo’s alterations. Watch an angrily edited video of the performance below.

Billboard also reports that Cee Lo initially apologized on his Twitter, writing, “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.” But then he later went back and deleted the post, so I guess he did mean disrespect.

Comments (46)
  1. I think fans were enraged by the fact that Cee Lo covered the song, not by the fact that he changed the lyrics.

    • nah i think they were mad that he changed the lyrics. what would be the reason to be mad that he did a cover? he changed a pretty essential lyric that goes hand in hand with the lyric before: “imagine there’s no countries”. if all religion were true, why would he call for the dissolution of nationalism? religion creates its own sense of nationalism.

      • Here is why I am upset that he did the cover. And yes I am incredibly upset at the fact that he changed the lyrics and at the same time the fact that he even covered it. Imagine is one of the greatest songs of all time and most would agree with that. While, I love Cee-Lo and most everything he has done, he has not EARNED the right to cover such an amazing song. This and Stairway to Heaven as well as few others are/should be considered the untouchable songs. NO one should ever cover any of the untouchables if you would like to pay om homage that’s great cover one of the others don’t touch the greats.

  2. Huge Lennon fan here and i think anyone getting upset over this really need to get over themselves. This is exactly the kind of trivial things that Americans become obsessed with, that distract them from much more important things that they should be paying attention to. And while focusing on the insignificant, they’re missing the bigger picture altogether.

    Why are people so obsessed with complaining?

    People should be concerned about Obama passing the National Defense Authorization Act which will turn any peaceful activists or outspoken American into a terrorist. Or the Stop Online Piracy Act- WHICH AFFECTS ALL OF YOU- which will greatly limit freedom of speech and expression on the internet.

    We are moving towards an Orwellian society under the Obama administration, and all people can complain about- is Cee-Lo changing one line in “Imagine”

    This is why the masses stay loosing.

    • Yo Griff, you said it all. Thanks for articulating my sentiment for me.

    • Triple thumbs up. While the world partied, Obama signed NDAA. Disgraceful. Most of the folks I was up partying with had never even heard of NDAA or SOPA, and had to pull of their smartphones to Google to confirm I wasn’t full of shtt.

      Sad way to start the year.

    • Valid points on the NDAA and media distractions, but you’re complaining about a music blog posting about music.

      • Although I agree with Griff’s more holistic worldview completely, this isn’t CNN.com, as pointed out by Comehomenow.

        Coming from a huge Lennon fan and non-Cee Lo fan, I find the lyrical replacement rather fitting at this point.

      • My complaint wasn’t about Stereogum. My complaint was about the fans who reacted negatively to this controversy.

        • I know that. You’re complaining about the complainers complaints about complaining.

          I don’t understand why anyone would really care about this “controversy” either, or why it’s considered a “controversy” in the first place, but it is what it is.

  3. I think he should have changed the line to “i love poopy poo.”

  4. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Don’t you mean Forget You, Cee-lo?

      • He’s not pushing religion down everyone’s throat by saying “all religion is true.” The word “all” doesn’t mean “Christianity,” “Judaism,” “Islam,” “Buddhism,” “Hinduism” (just going to name the major five), but ALL religions.

        Now, I’m not a huge Cee-Lo fan, but I like the message he’s sending. Agnosticism and Atheism are similarly considered “religions” by many (I consider them religious beliefs), so I don’t understand the negativity toward his message.

        People like to get riled up about nothing.

    • Someone better call the “wahmbulance.”

  5. Imagine there’s correction
    It’s easy if you suck
    You can change the pitch
    When singing flat as fuck
    Imagine all the pitches, Tuned to May-jor C…

    yoo-hoo oowoo-ooo

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  7. This is totally disrespectful. Altering the lyrics of “Imagine” to spout out your own (completely opposite message) is fucked up. I have officially lost all respect for Cee-Lo Green.

  8. He was just channeling Vonnegut a la Sirens of Titan’s chronosynclastic infundibulum. right? right?

  9. Lennon fan and I dig the change. If you can’t artistically reinterpret a song then why cover it?

  10. He missed the ultimate opportunity to cross-promote… “Nothing to kill or die for, fuck you-oo-oo!”

  11. I’m just angry that the cover isn’t that great. Cee Lo Green can sing better than this.

  12. i think i know where the beef went. get it? its cause he’s fat.

  13. I wasn’t particularly pleased with the change, but mainly because I don’t like it when lyrics are messed with. Hell, I was upset when the same thing happened with that “Boys of Summer” cover that came out several years ago, and I don’t even like Don Henley.

  14. Who fucking cares?

  15. “Billboard also reports that Cee Lo initially apologized on his Twitter, writing, “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.” But then he later went back and deleted the post, so I guess he did mean disrespect.

    i think the last part of this sidenote is kind of innappropriate i’m a fan of both beatles (since i was popped out) and Cee Lo Green.

    I understand the point that cee lo green is trying to make he wasn’t trying to change the meaning of the song he only meant to add a meaning to it in that he feels people shouldn’t be persecuted for their religion and shouldn’t persecute others for their’s to live in peace. truthfully i kind of wished he woudn’t have changed but i respect his decision. he did not mean any disrespect he most likely removed the post as a suggestion from his manager or because he didn’t want a twitter blow-up surounding the post (lots of trolls out ther).

  16. Metaphysical fail.

  17. Singers should really ignore the text of what they’re singing and take pain to not be personally invested in what they’re communicating. Cee Lo, read the comment section at [outcry] http://stereogum.com/914341/cee-lo-enrages-lennon-fans-by-changing-the-lyrics-to-imagine/franchises/wheres-the-beef/ [/cryout] and then feel bad about trying to make artistic choices that alter a John Lennon song. Thanks!

  18. I don’t have a problem with Cee Lo changing the lyrics, but his cover wasn’t all that good.

  19. It’s so hilarious to me how all of you so called “huge Lennon fans” are too stupid to realize the point John was trying to make with the anti-religion parts of Imagine’s lyrics. For those of you who don’t know John Lennon was an atheist, he was smart enough to realize during his quest for peace, that a world with religion in it would never have world peace. Why, because more people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other cause. In Imagine John is asking us to imagine a world of peace, that is why he says “Imagine there’s no heaven it’s easy if you try” “No hell below us and above us only sky,” after he says this, the last two lines of the second verse is “Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too.” If someone does a cover and changes that last part to “all religion is true” that goes against everything that song stands for. It fucks up one of the most important statements John was trying to make with that song, which is, that as long as religion is around there will never be world peace. That is what the REAL Lennon fans are pissed off about. I hope I explained everything well enough for all of you people that haven’t got a clue as to what the fuck your talking about. If you actually take the time to not only listen to the lyrics of Imagine, but also let them sink in and actually contemplate them you will understand. It doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to figure this shit out.

  20. Also, I assure you John Lennon would not be pissed off at all of us true fans that understand his lyrics. John, as an atheist, would be just as pissed off as we are that his song has been butchered and that the point he was trying to make has been completely ignored. What if an atheist took a gospel song and changed the lyrics to god isn’t real. The whole country would be pissed off, this shit would be airing on CNN, all the Christians would be out there with their little signs asking for the song to be banned. Considering the circumstances I think all of us real Lennon fans are handling this rather well!

  21. Why are folks so enraged? I think that A Perfect Circle’s “Imagine” cover is an atrocity of Chernobyl proportions. Also, John died… let’s not speculate on what he’d think and just about what he taught.

  22. you have no right. you are shit on lennon’s shoes

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