Cee Lo Green Re-words ‘Imagine’ and Causes a Stir

2 Jan

If we’ve learned one thing from Coca-Cola, it’s that you don’t mess with a classic.  Apparently Cee Lo Green, a successful musical artist, characterize by his unique voice and eccentric style, didn’t get the message. On New Year’s Eve, Cee Lo took  the stage to perform on NBC’s New Year’s Eve special and sung John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. But Cee Lo didn’t sing the song verbatim as it had originally been written, Cee Lo rarely conforms to the conventional. He  changed one line of the song, but that slight modification was enough that he received quite the backlash.  So what was the change?

Cee Lo Changed Lennon’s line ‘Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.’ to ‘Nothing to kill or die for, and all religion is true.’

The majority of the criticism aimed at Cee Lo comes from anti-religion people. These people believe that Cee Lo took what was akin to an anthem for them, a song that spoke for them and expressed their ideas of religion and its negative impact on society and not only twisted the words but also the meaning of the song. But did he? Let’s break it down in true wordphiliac fashion.

Lyrics to Imagine:

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 may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday 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 may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

The idea behind the song, is to imagine a world where  the things that separate us, oppress us, and bring out the ugliness in us do not exist. Wouldn’t that be nice. Go ahead, imagine it for a moment.

Now back to the post.

Lennon wants us to imagine a world without countries or religion so that the world can live in peace. It is sad, but true, that religion is a major reason for conflict throughout the world. So an end to religion would mean and end to conflict , resulting in world peace, which is ultimately what Lennon wants in the song. And doesn’t Cee Lo want the same thing in his line “And all religions true?”

Some definitions for the word true:

1a. Consistent with fact or reality; not false or erroneous.
b. Truthful.
2. Real; genuine.
3. Reliable; accurate: a true prophecy.
4. Faithful, as to a friend, vow, or cause; loyal.
5. Sincerely felt or expressed; unfeigned.
6. Fundamental; essential: his true motive.
7. Rightful; legitimate: the true heir.
8. Exactly conforming to a rule, standard, or pattern: trying to sing true B.
9. Accurately shaped or fitted: a true wheel.
10. Accurately placed, delivered, or thrown.
11. Quick and exact in sensing and responding.
So if all religions were in fact true, in keeping with the definitions of the word true, then wouldn’t the end result still be world peace? And isn’t the intent of the song still the same? If some people are up in arms simply because Cee Lo changed the words, I can understand that. They might have a case of methathesiophobia (the fear of change) but, hey it’s understandable. But if people are upset because they feel that Cee Lo in some way disrespected the sentiment of the song, well, that isn’t true- not according to any definition of the word. And I have to wonder if they themselves understand what the song is all about.




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