Billy Joel is refusing to back down from his decision to quit making pop music, despite pal Elton John's best efforts to prompt a comeback.

The PIANO MAN hasn't recorded new pop material since 1993's RIVER OF DREAMS album, and now insists he plans to concentrate on writing and recording classical projects rather than touring with an album of pop tunes.

He says, "I've always admired guys who walked away at the top of their game.

"(Joe) DiMAGGIO (baseball ace) did it. I've had my time in the sun. You can't squeeze blood from a stone.

"I know Elton John has said in a couple of interviews, 'I hope Billy gets his confidence back and has a number one album.'

"I think Elton might be mistaking confidence for desire. You have to have the desire to be competitive in the rock 'n' roll world. I don't have it."