The smooth popster labels the current crop of acts "rubbish"...

George Michael has launched a blistering attack on the UK music industry, labelling the current crop of manufactured acts as “rubbish” and laying the blame for a steady decline in artistic quality squarely at the door of greedy and cynical industry executives.

And in a swipe at John Lennon‘s widow Yoko Ono, the star explained the reasoning behind his recent £1.45m purchase of the Steinway piano on which the former Beatle wrote ‘Imagine’, saying it was to keep it “out of tiny hands in Tokyo (xenophobic but true)”.

Writing in yesterday’s Sunday Times newspaper (October 22), Michael fumed: “The corporate guys have spent the past 15 years doing their best to relieve artists of their art, and by now they have pretty much succeeded.” However he added that some of the new stars were themselves to blame, being too ready to bend to the whim of the executives in order to buy a passport to success.”

In an attack on performers who could include his Spice Girl friend Geri Halliwell, the former Wham frontman insisted that the “self-opinionated, uncompromising singer/songwriters” of old were being sidelined in favour of “four or five great-looking groups out of stage school”, adding “in the process of ignoring real talent in favour of malleable, pretty young things, you are depriving the country of one of its greatest assets”.

Michael also hankered for a time when stars like Lennon & McCartney “wrote their own songs, sang them with a variety of untrained voices, drank, took drugs, drowned, marched, looked ridiculous and made amazing, beautiful music” and was not surprised in the least that Americans had not been taken in by the volume of “rubbish” recently released.