(The Sun Newspaper, April 21, 2001)
QUEEN'S John Deacon has blasted Robbie Williams saying he's not good enough to replace Freddie Mercury and sing with the band.
Robbie was to take Freddie's place with John, Roger Taylor and Brian May to record a special version of the classic hit We Are The Champions.
But John refused because he thought Robbie ruined the song and could never replace Freddie, who died in 1991.
Instead just Robbie, Roger and Brian recorded the track - a No2 hit for Queen in 1977 - at a secret location in Surrey for the soundtrack of new movie A Knight's Tale.
John says: "Roger and Brian got together to do the song with Robbie Williams but I told them I had retired.
"I didn't want to be involved with it and I'm glad. I've heard what they did and it's rubbish.
"It is one of the greatest songs ever written but I think they've ruined it. I don't want to be nasty but let's just say Robbie Williams is no Freddie Mercury. Freddie can never be replaced - and certainly not by him."
John also scuppered a plan for Robbie to front a re-formed Queen with the surviving members.
The bassist made his cutting comments at the Save Popbitch party -- an event to raise money for the internet gossip site. I was surprised to see him at the bash because he hasn't appeared on the London party scene for years.
Always regarded as the quiet one in the supergroup, John claims he retired from music when Freddie died.
Bandmates Roger and Brian carry on and recorded We Will Rock You with boyband Five last year.
* Meanwhile, Robbie has jetted out to Los Angeles to record a video for new single The Road to Mandalay.
He is going for a radical image change for the video - adopting the Braveheart look.
His Mel Gibson-style makeover will include a mullet hairdo and breast plate.
Special make-up artists and costume designers have been hired for the video shoot at a Hollywood movie studio.
Robbie is expected to drop in on old pal George Michael during his two-week trip.