I’m talking, of course, about the upheaval caused when Ce Lo Green sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” in Times Square on New Year’s Eve and changed Lennon’s line “and no religion too” to “and all religions true.”
Wouldn’t you know it, outrage ensued. From the Twittersphere, predominantly:
“Cee-lo ruining John Lennon….not everything needs a remix. Although the message is relevant,” wrote a reader named D’Nai. Said @kevinkieninger: “Cee Lo. There’s some songs you just don’t cover. Like anything by the Beatles or John Lennon.”
“The whole point of that lyric is that religion causes harm. If “all [sic] religion’s true” it would be a pretty bleak place,” remarked @geekysteven, summing up Lennon’s anti-religion philosophy.
Ce Lo later tweeted a semi-apology for compromising Lennon’s universalistic ethic:
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.
My thoughts? To be honest, my first reaction was to note that we’ve defintely gone down the rabbit hole when Ce Lo Green, the singer of a massive hit single called “F**k You”, is now somehow in the position of saving religion from John Lennon.
Personally speaking, I’ve always found that particular line less galling than the verse “Imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can” – especially when you consider that Lennon, the owner of a psychedelic Rolls Royce tricked out with a telephone, refrigerator, television and double bed, actually recorded this song from his 72 acre estate in Tittenhurst Park. (Interestingly enough, when Neil Young performed “Imagine” at a post 9/11 benefit concert, he actually changed that line to the more humble “Imagine no possessions/I wonder if I can.” From what I recall, no one seemed to mind it at the time.)
Hey, at the end of the day, it’s a mellow ditty that dreams a universal dream of a world that lives as one. Just settle down and stop bickering already…