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Cee Lo Green Angers Fans by Imagining Different John Lennon Lyrics

Cee Lo Green
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

Cee Lo Green is known for doing his own thing, from feathered costumes and defying gravity to dropping the f-bomb in every chorus of his biggest hit. But when the soulful singer changed lyrics to John Lennon‘s legendary ‘Imagine,’ fans felt like it was a ‘F— You’ to the former Beatle‘s message.

Green’s offense took place this New Year’s Eve, where he performed in Times Square for NBC’s special. To most of the bubbly-popping masses, Green’s alteration was almost unnoticeable — it still rhymed, so viewers and listeners who weren’t paying close attention may have missed it. However, it did appear to go against Lennon’s lines of secular peace. Instead of crooning the original peace-promoting lyrics, “Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too,” Green belted, “Nothing to kill or die for / And all religion’s true.

But the change didn’t sit well with Lennon fans, sparking outrage on Twitter. One fan tweeted on behalf of most, “The whole point of that lyric is that religion causes harm. If  ‘all relgion’s [sic] true’ it would be a pretty bleak place.”

Green responded to the backlash promptly — and seemingly sincerely. To Green’s credit, his idea to switch up the line also stemmed from a vision of peace — just one that was slightly different from Lennon’s. “Yo I meant no disrespect by changing the lyric guys!” Green tweeted. “I was trying to say a world were [sic] u could believe what u wanted that’s all.” Green reportedly also responded directly to other fans and critics of his performance, but all of the tweets have since been erased.

Sounds like ‘The Voice‘ coach silenced his own voice. Check out his performance below (the song begins at the 3:55 mark). What do you think of his lyric change? Creative? Blasphemous? More or less offensive than Bieber covering the Beatles? Sound off in the comments!

Watch Cee Lo Green Perform ‘Imagine’

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