British rocker SIR ELTON JOHN stormed out of his aftershow party after a woman he called a "rude b*tch" slammed his piano playing.

The CANDLE IN THE WIND singer had finished his benefit concert at New York city's Radio City Music Hall for local performing arts college JUILLIARD and London's ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC and was celebrating the show's success in London's RAINBOW ROOM last night (13JUL04) when a middle-aged woman claimed she was a better pianist than him.

The outspoken guest told John, "I play better boogie-woogie piano than you."

He replied, "No, you can't."

She insisted, "Yes, I can."

He shouted, "You know what, you're one rude b*tch," and headed back down in the elevator.

Rock photographer KEVIN MAZUR complains, "He was so ecstatic. I rode up on the elevator with him. He was so happy."

Party hostess CORNELIA GUEST telephoned John and eventually persuaded him to return to the party to a standing ovation.

14/07/2004 14:02