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Elton John Denounces Pop Music

LONDON (AP) _ Elton John likens the new generation of pop stars, including Britney Spears and 'N Sync, to packets of cereal. And he's fed up.

The singer, who also admitted regrets about releasing a live version of his own greatest hits album, accused the music industry of churning out ``average and mediocre'' bands.

``Nowadays, record companies want the quick buck from the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, S Club 7, from the Steps. They've always been around, I'm not knocking the music perhaps, but it's like packets of cereal,'' he told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s Newsnight program Wednesday.

``There are too many of them, too many of them are just average and mediocre. And I think it damages real people's chance, real talent, of getting airplay. It's just fodder.''

John, who co-writes his own songs with longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin, said pop videos also were a waste of time _ though the video for his new single, ``This Train Don't Stop There Anymore,'' features Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync dressed as John of the 1970s, complete with oversized glasses, receding hairline and gaudy clothes.

``If I was king of the music business and I would do one thing _ I'd close down all the video stations and say let's just have music, can we?''

The 54-year-old singer admitted he ``squirmed'' over the release of his recorded live version of his greatest hits, ``One Night Only.''

``I shouldn't have done that album in a million years and I did and I regret doing it,'' he said.
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