SIR Elton John has revealed the real reason why he split from his last record company Mercury - executives wanted him to record an album of Motown Christmas hits. The British rocker was outraged by the suggestion he record a series of soulful festive favourites after his critically acclaimed 2004 album PEACHTREE ROAD flopped - and decided it was time to move on. He tells Rolling Stone magazine, "Over my dead body will I ever do a Christmas album. "Why would I do that when I work with someone who comes up with such great lyrics as (songwriting partner) Bernie Taupin?" Elton signed to Interscope and he and Taupin set about writing and recording a sequel to hit 1975 LP CAPTAIN FANTASTIC + THE BROWN DIRT COWBOY - and his next project will be a hip-hop album featuring collaborations with Dr Dre and EMINEM.