That’s disappointing. A song that embodies inclusion gets edited.

So, the other day on television, I caught a rather nice rendition of Lennon’s “Imagine.” It was during an episode of Glee, which is newish show that has a lot of musical theatre elements (it’s a favourite of my wife’s).

Anyway, this episode had a plot that focused around the highschool glee club (of which the entire show is based around) meeting a choir for the deaf. And the song in question was this really great collaboration of spoken word (from the deaf choir) and singing (from the glee club). It was quite moving really, since it nicely showcased the sentiment of Lennon’s iconic song.

Check it out – you can see and hear the version of song as shown on TV (at least for now since I think it’s technically copyrighted material):

It is, by any measure, a very strong performance, and I liked it enough that I thought this would be a good song to purchase on iTunes. I thought my kids, in particular, might like it.

So, it was all rather disappointing to discover that the version released on iTunes had completely edited out every element of the deaf choir’s performance. Which is a shame really – because I thought it was actually the best part of the song. Now it sounds like a decent but otherwise mundane version of the song.

Of course, this begs the larger question. Why would Twentieth Century Fox (the ones who produce the television show as well as release the music for purchase) feel like the parts with the deaf choir would not merit a listen? It’s puzzling really – is the music buying public that averse to this sort of thing?

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and boingboing.net. He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at popperfont.net.

4 Responses to “That’s disappointing. A song that embodies inclusion gets edited.”

  1. Tiffany Pan

    Love, love, love this show. I’m surprised that iTunes edited it… I would imagine that it just makes music-buyers flock to other sites that have left it in the original format. Perhaps iTunes is merely not sure that it would to a larger audience that does not know the context of the song?

  2. Nicholas FitzGerald

    Probably either a legal or business decision. Perhaps the choir didn’t want to sign over their souls to Twentieth Century Fox, or perhaps TCF didn’t want to have to pay royalties to the choir. That’s Big-Business Music for you.

  3. Matt Corker

    I’m with Tiffany (loving the show and thinking of the audience appeal). Many people download the songs without watching the show (in my opinion), so they may not get the reference or importance.

  4. Shagufta Pasta

    Oh Glee. You bring me much joy. But I’m sad to hear that the song was edited-I too thought it would be a great purchase when I saw it on the show. I would think most people who buy the songs do so because of their love for Glee. Mystery…

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