Quincy Jones believes The Beatles were the "worst musicians in the world".
The 84-year-old record producer - who has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra - insists he hasn't ever heard a worse bass player than Sir Paul McCartney and while he doesn't rate Ringo Starr's drumming ability much better, he thinks the stickman is "great guy".
When asked what his first impressions of the group was, he said: "That they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing m*********ers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it.
"I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it.
"We said, 'Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.'
"So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up.
"Ringo comes back and says, 'George, can you play it back for me one more time?' So George did, and Ringo says, 'That didn’t sound so bad.' And I said, 'Yeah, m********er because it ain’t you.' Great guy, though."
Quincy - who has been nominated for 79 Grammys in his career - has also hit out at Michael for being "greedy", and claims the late music legend "stole" a lot of material from other artists.
Speaking to Vulture, he added: "I hate to get into this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs. [Donna Summer’s] 'State of Independence' and 'Billie Jean'. The notes don’t lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as they come.
"Greedy, man. Greedy. 'Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough' — Greg Phillinganes wrote the C section. Michael should’ve given him 10 per cent of the song. Wouldn’t do it."
Last July, Quincy was awarded $9.42 million (R114 million) following a royalties dispute with Michael's estate.
He filed a lawsuit in 2013, alleging he was owed up to $30 million ( R363 million) for his work on a number of projects which were released after Michael died in 2009, including the 'This Is It' concert film and two Cirque du Soleil productions.
He said afterwards: "As an artist, maintaining the vision and integrity of one's creation is of paramount importance. I, along with the team I assembled with Michael, took great care and purpose in creating these albums, and it has always given me a great sense of pride and comfort that three decades after they were originally recorded, these songs are still being played in every corner of the world.
"This lawsuit was never about Michael, it was about protecting the integrity of the work we all did in the recording studio and the legacy of what we created. Although this judgement is not the full amount that I was seeking, I am very grateful that the jury decided in our favour in this matter. I view it not only as a victory for myself personally, but for artists' rights overall."