British boy band Blue will split for good next year (05) after a final greatest hits tour.

The boys - Lee Ryan, Simon Webbe, Antony Costa and DUNCAN JAMES - announced in May (04) that they were taking time out this year to pursue solo projects.

But Ryan has shocked pals by revealing the chart-topping band will reunite briefly for a set of money-spinning gigs before taking a final bow.

A friend says, "He told us that the guys want to do a final tour.

"It's so they can all cover their tax debts and walk away with a fortune."

Ryan is expected to pursue a solo career - and was heard bragging to fellow guests at SIR Elton John's White Tie And Tiara ball last month (JUN04) that he is planning to crack the American charts.

The other three members are expected to hang up their mics for good when the band split - and pursue acting careers. Webbe, who also owns his own music management company, has already landed a role in upcoming British movie RUN.

04/07/2004 15:47