There’s really very little upside to changing the lyrics to an established pop classic—guaranteed, you’re bound to piss somebody off by doing so. Cee Lo Green learned this the hard way over the weekend when he took a turn at John Lennon’s Utopian ballad “Imagine” during the NBC New Year’s Eve special. The Voice star decided to differentiate his version of Lennon’s tune from all the millions of other “Imagine” covers by changing the lyric “Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too” to “Nothing to kill or do for / And all religion’s true.”
Naturally, some Lennon acolytes claimed (not entirely without reason) that doing so changed the meaning of the song significantly, to a message that the solo Beatle may not have supported. They took to Twitter to confront Cee Lo about his taking poetic license, causing the Lady Killer to tweet back in response “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.” He also responded directly to a number of haters, but has since deleted all such tweets from his account, leaving only a more genial “Happy new year everyone!!!!!!” message from his January 1st timeline.
Check out his cover below, and let us know whether you think Cee Lo’s lyrical turn was fair play. (Be warned, though: The first three or so mintues of this video features Kathy Griffin in a bra, a sight which can never be unseen.)