For a guy who’s supposed to be some kind of modern musical guru, Cee Lo just doesn’t get it, does he? It was bad enough that he decided to change the lyrics of Lennon’s classic song “Imagine,” but then he had to try to make people believe it was an innocent attempt to amplify Lennon’s song? This guy thinks he’s qualified to rewrite Lennon?
In case you missed the firestorm, Cee Lo was performing on NBC’s New Year’s Eve program from Times Square where, he debuted his rewritten version of the song “Imagine.” Instead of crooning “Nothing to kill or die for/ and no religion too,” he altered the line to “Nothing to kill or die for/ and all religion’s true.”
Any thinking person can see that changing the religion stanza completely inverts the meaning of the song. Instead of “no religion,” we suddenly have “all religions”? Lennon was suggesting that we free ourselves from the tyranny of organized religion, which pits brother against brother. If we didn’t fight over religion, maybe there could be peace. Free your mind, dump your prejudices and live together, without hating your fellow man because he worships a god who wears a different color hat.
But Cee Lo’s rewrite suggested not only that religion is true, but that all religions are true, which is completely ludicrous, because different religions are mutually exclusive – that’s why they are different religions. If all religions were true, the world would constantly be at war, as a planet full of holy warriors battled to see whose god would “win.” But more than that, there can’t be more than one true god – god is, by definition, omnipotent, so there cannot be more than one, otherwise, somebody’s god is not the strongest one there is, and therefore not god. Clearly, Cee Lo was rewriting a master songwriter with lyrics Cee Lo hadn’t even thought through! Fail.
The performance sparked immediate outrage, and Cee Lo used his Twitter account to try to defend himself: “Yo I meant no disrespect by changing the lyric guys … I was trying to say a world where u could believe what u wanted, that’s all.”
Well, maybe that’s what the song means to Cee Lo, but if it does, he missed the point and should listen to it again.
Yesterday (Jan. 6), Cee Lo told the Television Critics Association he “meant no harm, no disrespect to anyone, any religious preference.” Wrong, Cee Lo; you deeply offended Lennon’s memory, his intentions and his fans. And it certainly was disrespectful toward people who share Lennon’s view of religion as a divisive force in human history.
Cee Lo offered this bit of populist tripe to try to assuage the outrage: “Speak out and be yourself and speak your minds, speak your hearts.” Well, what was in your heart besides arrogance and hubris?
It’s hard to believe this is a guy who’s supposed to “mentor” young talent on THE VOICE. I’ll quote (accurately) one of Cee Lo’s own songs to wrap up: “Forget you!”