Jan. 1, 2012 at 3:57 PM ET
The lyrics of John Lennon's "Imagine" are well-known to generations of fans, and when Cee Lo Green changed them while performing in New York's Times Square on New Year's Eve, not everyone took it well.
Instead of singing "Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too," Green instead sang, "Nothing to kill or die for, and all religion's true."
The Huffington Post reported that Green then tweeted an explanation, saying ""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." That tweet has since been deleted from the singer's Twitter feed.
Comic Colin Quinn tweeted of the change, "Cee Lo covered Imagine but at least he 'cleaned it up a little.' I did the same thing when I changed NWA to 'N-word' WA."
Actor Michael McKean was even more succinct, using a play on the title of the cleaned-up version of Green's own hit. "Dear Cee Lo: Forget you," McKean tweeted.
Some Twitter users noted that they felt Green's version of the famed song was poorly sung. He was also criticized by some for singing the song, which includes the lyrics "imagine no possessions" and "no need for greed or hunger" while dressed in a full-length fur coat and jewels.
Others defended Green, with Twitter member J.W.J. posting "Nothing could be sillier than defending the sanctity of a pop song -- especially one as dull and schmaltzy as 'Imagine.'"
"Imagine" has been criticized before for the "no religion" line, but it holds a vaunted place in musical history. In 2004, Rolling Stone named it No.3 on the list of the magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, calling it "an enduring hymn of solace and promise that has carried us through extreme grief, from the shock of Lennon's own death in 1980 to the unspeakable horror of Sept. 11."
Green wasn't the only modern star singing a familiar tune as 2011 turned into 2012. Justin Bieber sang The Beatles' "Let It Be" (with aid from Carlos Santana) but appeared to keep to the actual lyrics.
Take a listen to Green's version of "Imagine" (Green begins singing around the 4 minute mark) and tell us what you think on Facebook.