Monday, January 2, 2012

'Forget' 'em, Cee Lo: Lennon Wasn't Jesus..Nor Wanted To Be

The Bashing Of Cee Lo Green's NYE performance of 'Imagine' in Times Square has familiar ring of piousness from purists who don't know their own 'God'

KC Shoen

John Lennon once complained during his time in self-imposed exile between 1975 and 1980 that no one was performing any cover versions of any of his previous solo work . Since he had stopped being musically active, Lennon was suffering from the effects of what I term as ' Billboard Chart Absenteeism': having had a successful commercial run prior to his second son's birth,  Lennon had awakened to the fact that he was no longer 'present' in the music scene, and found it quite disturbing no bands were wanting to record, nor perform, their own versions of 'Give Peace A Chance', 'Working Class Hero, or one of his biggest 'Imagine'. According to an interview with Yoko Ono, upon hearing this from her husband, responded, "maybe they're afraid to do so, not wanting to disrespect your work."

If this is accurate, the absolute pummeling of Cee Lo Green by so-called 'fans' of JL are themselves the complete draconian alter-worshiping trogs in this ridiculous chastising of Mr. Callaway. Any informed fan worth their salt would know this, also by tracing Lennon's own exploration into different genres just prior to his death in 1980. One of his last works "Walking On Thin Ice" was a dance track he constructed with with his wife, as Lennon wanted to experiment with a new sound he had come into contact with in the New York post-disco music scene via Yoko Ono, a sound which would later come in to the popular mainstream identified as 'New Wave.' 

This was they very cassette of the song JL was clutching in his dead hands when that delusional psychotic purist-freak Mark David Chapman, drunk on JD Salinger and religion, decided to empty his revolver into Lennon outside the Dakota.

Chapman was a self-identified 'disillusioned fan' of Lennon. So much, he decided it was up to him to annihilate the 'phony' he felt JL had become. Lennon wasn't 'pure' enough to be allowed his freedom to live as a husband, father and human being, and had to punished for his violating his stature upon the alter he had ascended to, adjacent to that of Jesus Christ and Elvis.  

Chapman had, at one time, worshiped at that alter, and carried out his ' moral duty' as a disgruntled 'parishioner' of that 'church', to issue a 'correction.'..

As a disillusioned fan.

As a songwriter and performer, Cee Lo thought it advantageous to perform 'Imagine' with some alteration of the original lyrics to give it a present-day relevance and make it his own: which is what great singers often attempt when they perform any 'standard' that is exceptionally well-known like Lennon's classic. During the course of that performance, at around 11:56 pm, things immediately went from engaged harmoniousness to puritanically stupid when Mr. Callaway diverged from the original lyric "and no religion, too" with the words "and all religions true",in which audible gasps and reactions within the audience could be faintly heard. No sooner than he had completed the set, Cee Lo, anticipating backlash on a tsunami scale , quickly tweeted 

 "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"

Poor Bastard. Mr. Callaway had not a inkling that his reflective treatment of this lyric (which I found refreshing) would make him a repository of utter bombast and pugilistic swill fit for a morose, crystal-meth infused New Year's brawl at the local trailer park. The priggish Lennon purists, attempting to come across as having their stately, pseudo-intellectual sensibilities utterly vandalized in having their 'God' desecrated in the name of performance were the most hyper-critical..and the most venomous.

Understandably, he went on the defensive through his Twitter account, but could not keep up with the steady barrage of 'bullets' being 'emptied' into him, and wisely discontinued, even removing the tweeted messages as promptly as he had posted them. 

It isn't just the acidic nature of the backlash that's disturbing: much of it wasn't worth the waste of energy to digest. It was the context of the vitriol I found astounding, even hauntingly familiar in tone and timber to the mindset of one infamous crackpot who turned December 8th 1980 into a day of execution for a guy who was merely returning home from a fantastic recording session, trying to enter his apartment so he could hungrily playback the cassette he had clutched excitedly in his hands. Excited by what he and his wife just 'cooked up' in the studio. He just wanted to get inside, listen, and 'feel it' 

But the last thing he would 'feel' were the hot spikes of painful entry wounds from metal shells delivered to his body by his executioner's handgun.
His executioner: A fucking psychotic, emotionally underdeveloped murderous dweeb from Ft. Worth Texas:

A fan of John Lennon

In the immediate aftermath of this, I recognized this borderline psychosis, which leads me to ascertain that avid Lennon fans are no different from the modern day 'Pontious Pilate' who 'crucified' their 'lord' on that doorstep on a dark Monday night one December. For all of the completely rancorous diatribes Cee Lo needlessly received immediately after that performance, I have to assess that these 'fans' are just like Chapman: ready to render judgement on anything that appears to be desecrating their fervent worship of John Jesus Christ Lennon, even stating heinous shit such as wishing Mr. Callaway's death. 'Fans' have demonstrated they are no different from JL's assassin: it is the same mindset, just different weaponry. So, for all of you that took trouble to defend Lennon's 'alter' by assaulting Cee Lo, I got something for you, because I do understand that 'facts' 'acceptance' and 'information' are vocabulary that are beyond your realm of feasible understanding.

Yoko Ono sanctioned the performance
Cee Lo, under the full blessing of Mr. Lennon's widow, (and inheritor of his Estate, by the way) rendered the performance with her approval. It made perfect sense to have Cee Lo give this performance, as he is a muliti-genre performer whom is highly experimental in his sound, and on top of his game currently. It is most likely what JL himself would've sanctioned, given his own experimentation toward the end of his life (Take a listen to this as evidence, that's JL on the guitar and keyboards).

John Lennon had a diverse music appreciation
Being a musician and songwriter, JL's taste in music was pretty broad. In his early years, it was Elvis, Fats Domino, and even George Formby. In his latter years, he had a particular ear for emergent punk,  disco, 'soul', and New Wave just prior to his death. Cee Lo was the perfect representative of this diversity to do "Imagine", as his tastes in music vary from motown, Hip Hop, to Hall & Oates to Journey. Lennon recorded with a fairly broad spectrum of other artist such as Elton John and David Bowie;  Cee Lo has worked with similar diversity in talent, such as OutKast, Santana and Danger Mouse.

and lastly,

You wouldn't be hating Cee Lo if he had done the same thing looking like Michael Buble
Face it, 'Lennon fans': if the dude came on stage looking like that lilly-white Canadian crooner, there wouldn't have been the backlash. Buble would have probably done something similar to the lyrics, for like Cee Lo, he's actually very intelligent with a wry sense of humor, who would've understand the exact nature of the importance of that moment, considering all the divisive conflict in the world..

Instead of getting a 'safe'-looking caucasoid, you got a diminutive, bald-headed, African-american who doesn't 'look like one of 'us'": Cee Lo is NOT 'safe': his sardonic use of language and suggestive lyrical and vocal inflections contained within his music coupled with his will to take creative risks even in the face of ugly criticism is one of the reason he resonates so succinctly with music fans of all stripes. He is doing things in popular music most mainstream acts don't have the intestinal fortitude nor the insight to do: just 'be', and be honest doing it, warts and all.

Just Like Lennon.

Lennon took a risk leaving the Beatles, and marrying a woman who WASN'T a blond-haired blue-eyed photographer from New York. And while P-Mac's wife Linda got mad props and love for working with her hubby as a member of Wings in the 70's, JL got completely pasted when he and his Japanese wife did the same thing with The Plastic Ono Band. Linda McCartney was canonized as a charitable soul up until her death. Yoko Ono to this day is villainized as some kind of greedy, tormented, evil fascist who was accused of single-handily destroying the Beatles, and in kind, with regards to her husbands legacy when he was violently murdered.

Putting it bluntly, its a 'race thing' for you elitist Lennon-worshiping sock puppets. From the baby-boomer realm of that "kingdom" to its youngest 'enlistees' it is all about this alleged 'purity' of his music that should not be 'touched' by the dirty hands of the 'lesser talented.' You are, and have become the very thing that JL railed against in his life, and are a part of the very mentality that killed him.

The irony is immeasurable. You should be embarrassed. 

Cee Lo exhibits creative traits similar to Lennon, this is precisely why Yoko Ono invited him as her guest to sing 'Imagine'. If you knew your history about the Lennon's in relation to those who are avant-garde in their own rite, this selected performance made perfect sense. It's one thing not to like it, fair enough. Quite another to errantly start shooting bullets  of vitriol at the performer himself because it doesn't meet with your elitist and puritanical approval.

I'll end this on this last note: I have met Cee Lo, and know he is extremely appreciative of all the attention he's received. It's not 'lost' on him, As he stated to me during our meeting  in regards to the blazing success of 'F*** You' "It's has taken on a life of its own. I'm just trying to ride this wave wherever it is going to take me. It's unbelievable..and overwhelming." final response to you purists out there is this:


Jesse said...

Oh, my dear. Um, it's not that he changed the lyric. It's what he changed the lyric to. And I think you missed that point as well.

The song, 'Imagine,' was Lennon's statement about removing all of the reasons that the human race has used to comment war and genocide. The number one reason being "religion." And if you read the original lyric, it's "nothing to kill or die for and no religion too."

No reason to commit suicide, no reason to go to war, no reason to kill another human. "All religions true" changes that lyric drastically by negating the original message.

I'm sure there is a large number of purists and to an extent, your statement is also true. But you're missing the point -- mucking with the lyric mucks with the original intent of the song. And THAT is what is causing the uproar. Cee Lo should have been a little more savvy to the song.

J. J. Ramsey said...

"Yoko Ono sanctioned the performance"

Interesting. You have a link for that? I've read assorted speculation about Cee Lo Green's lyric change being illegal, and I wouldn't mind seeing a yay or nay about that.

Sketch Sepahi said...

So if you object to Cee Lo's change of the lyrics, you're an elitist, racist murderer? Come again? If you're not going to take the discussion seriously, then you're a child-raping Stalinist with webbed feet and bad breath. So there.

Paul Pearson said...

You said it much more clearly and direct than I did:

This tempest is rife with irony. Strange days indeed.

Anonymous said...

You have not documented what you are calling fact, particularly in regards to Yoko's sanction. She didn't sanction the lyric change, which is why you didn't provide a link. So, you're either a lazy writer, or you lied to support your own agenda. Which puts you in the same spot Cee-Lo is in. Except that Cee-Lo got paid.

Let's take Cee-Lo's lyric on its own merit: If, as he writes, "all religion's true," then "the guys who flew planes into the towers on 9/11 were not nutcases."

Why? Because they did it for religion, and Cee-Lo says all religion's true.

Further: Which God accepts that all other religions are true? Cee-Lo enraged evangelicals who know that the line is wrong, and blasphemous. All other Gods are, to them, false.

Therefore: On New Year's Eve, Cee-Lo defended 9/11 in the middle of Times Square, and blasphemed himself, his church, his purported beliefs, and outraged atheists.

And you think people are pissed because he doesn't look like Michael Buble? Do you think Yoko, who doesn't look like Michael Buble, would have sanctioned it?


The World Church called me once and asked, 'Can we use the lyrics to Imagine and just change it to "Imagine one religion"?' That showed they didn't understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea."

- John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Anonymous said...

This is article of the year material.

John Lennon was not an atheist.

Yoko Ono is the sole controller of all of John Lennon's material.

Cee-Lo performed the song for her and got her approval as well as the approval of the Lennon estate 3 months prior to the performance.

If Yoko was upset about it (or Sean. Or Julian, or any of the members of the Lennon Estate) - you would know by now.

But it's not Yoko or Sean or Julian. It's a bunch of internet atheist basement dwellers preaching their anti-religious agenda (which is not what Lennon meant - He meant a world where everyone accepted each other and their style and ideas.

By blasting Cee-Lo, these atheists don't realize that:

1. They're going against the wishes of John Lennon himself by being intolerant, inconsiderate assholes over a song lyric

2. They're going against the wishes of John Lennon's family and estate

3. They're going against common decency

4. They're creating censorship of others

5. Other atheist musicians have come forward and said 'big deal' about Cee-Lo's music change

6. Which means that the people that are left are a bunch of nobodies who have been crushed and thoroughly beaten into submission via logical argument and can only resort to shout-down tactics, not unlike the occupiers and the other trash who are essentially hypocritical liars who are quick to censor others but become enraged when they are censored.