Arrogance or ignorance?

On New Year’s Eve, in Time Square, Cee Lo Green was asked to sing a song. Sounds innocent enough, right? The song he sang was John Lennon’s Imagine. An iconic song that means a great deal to so many.

Here are the actual lyrics to Imagine, as written by John Lennon.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Cee Lo Green sang the song in a slightly different way. Watch and see if you can spot the difference.

At the very least Mr. Green is guilty of not learning the correct lyric. Like when you listen to a song and think they lyric is something different than what it really is. For example, when Phoebe, on the sitcom Friends, thought that Elton John’s Hold me closer Tiny Dancer was actually Hold me close Young Tony Danza. Although in her case she wasn’t performing the song in front of an audience of millions. If you are charged with singing someone else’s song, it is your responsibly to  learn the lyrics as they were written.

At the very worst, Mr. Green is guilty of willfully changing the lyric to further his own agenda. In this article from the Huffington post, the author shares a slideshow of tweets between irate Lennon fans (and atheists) and Cee Lo Green. In one of those tweets, Mr. Green states that he was a guest (actually he wrote guess) of Yoko Ono. If that is the case, why would you spit on the memory of her husband to her face? His lyric change makes the first verse of the song nonsensical. Why would we imagine that there is no heaven or hell, if all religion is true? After reading the tweet exchange it becomes clear that he DID intend to change the lyric.

Now the question becomes WHY? Why sing the song at all if you disagree with it? Were you contractually obligated to sing it? Why sing this song and change this particular lyric, knowing that it will piss people off the world over? Are you so desperate for publicity that even bad publicity is appealing? Why did you feel the need to insert your own beliefs into a song about lack of belief? Are you really that arrogant? And, perhaps most significantly, why are you hanging out with Yoko Ono? That’s an image I just can’t Imagine.