Former BLUE star Simon Webbe has blamed SIR Elton John for the British boyband's shock split last month (JUL05) - insisting the flamboyant rocker told the band to quit before their careers went stale.

The ROCKET MAN collaborated with the foursome - Webbe, Duncan James, Lee Ryan and ANTONY COSTA - on hit ballad SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD.

And John told the pop hunks to concentrate on solo projects, because he feared their popularity as a boyband was decreasing.

Webbe explains, "We decided to have a break because Sir Elton told us: 'You have a certain amount of longevity in the business. If you keep releasing pop albums as Blue you'll go stale.'

"His comments made sense. He's a legend with almost 40 years in the business. I realised it would be best to take time out.

"There were distractions and people were telling members of the band they could do better. Also, I did not want to hold any of the others back."