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Top 10 Music Feuds and Rivalries

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Though we'd like to think there's enough room for everyone who wants to be successful in the music world, sometimes this doesn't always feel like it's the case. Musicians and musical artists may engage in fights and feuds in public or in private and the means they use can differ in each case. For this list, we’re looking at feuds and rivalries in the pop, rock and heavy metal categories. We’ve excluded hip-hop, rap, R&B and related genres because there are so many that we could make another list – which is what we did. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 music feuds and rivalries.

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These fights made music headlines. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 music feuds and rivalries.

For this list, we’re looking at feuds and rivalries in the pop, rock and heavy metal categories. We’ve excluded hip-hop, rap, R&B and related genres because there are so many that we could make another list – which is what we did.

#10 – Neil Young versus Lynyrd Skynyrd

When Neil Young attacked southern U.S. racism with his lyrics, southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd took offense. They responded with the song “Sweet Home Alabama,” in which they sang about the singer-songwriter and how “a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.” The feud didn’t progress much more than that, though, as the two artists subsequently supported one another’s work and even sang each other’s songs in concert.

#9 – Mr. Bungle versus Red Hot Chili Peppers

This beef between Anthony Kiedis and Mike Patton began after the Chili Peppers main man felt the Faith No More and Mr. Bungle frontman was copping his style. In order to appease Kiedis’ anger and further differentiate the artists, Mr. Bungle’s record label moved their third album’s release so that it wouldn’t drop beside RHCP’s Californication. Kiedis then had Mr. Bungle removed from several festival tour dates, which prompted them to mock the Chili Peppers at a show.

#8 – Courtney Love versus Dave Grohl

Known for her on-stage screaming fits and off-stage drug binges, Courtney Love is also famous for throwing things at celebrities, stripping in public and blasting people online. Worst of all is her estrangement from her daughter and fighting with former Nirvana members. While she’s never had a friendly relationship with Dave Grohl, her Twitter accusation that he hit on Frances Bean further strained things between the three and cemented her trainwreck status.

#7 – Madonna versus Lady Gaga

Though Madonna has traded barbs with Elton John, it’s her ongoing rivalry with Mother Monster that’s most often cited. Though Lady Gaga has admitted the Queen of Pop influences her, it’s hard to deny the similarities in their music, style and performances. After Madonna called Gaga’s “Born this Way” “reductive,” the younger artist made a furious rant in NME that sparked controversy with its foul language.

#6 – Kid Rock versus Tommy Lee

Having both been married to Pamela Anderson and both indulged in the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, it’s not that shocking to discover that Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee and Kid Rock have also exchanged verbal and physical blows. After some trash talking at the 2007 VMAs, Kid Rock allegedly threw the first punch and the two eventually had to be separated by security.

#5 – Guns N’ Roses versus Nirvana

While he’s charismatic and energetic, Axl Rose is equally known for his big mouth, and his fighting with his own bandmates as well as bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison. However, it’s his feud with Nirvana that lands here. After the grunge rockers refused to tour with the most dangerous band in the world, they exchanged fighting words at the 1992 VMAs; Axl even told Kurt Cobain to keep Courtney Love in line.

#4 – Paul McCartney versus Michael Jackson

Macca and MJ may’ve duetted together in the early ‘80s, but their friendship later turned sour: after the former Beatle told the King of Pop that lotsa money could be made buying music catalogs, Michael bought ATV Music and became owner of the majority of the Fab Four’s songs. Jackson may’ve gotten richer thanks to the deal, but his relationship with McCartney was never the same.

#3 – Britney Spears versus Christina Aguilera

It’s hard not to compare these pop princesses: they were both Mouseketeers, they both started in bubblegum pop, both won Grammys, and both are uber successful, have kids and were reality show judges. They started off as friends, but the media’s been eager to pit them as enemies, comparing their ex-boyfriends, looks or music. Even this long after they hit big; they’re still asked about each other during interviews.

#2 – Oasis versus Blur

Oasis had already been making news for their in-band fights when the British press pitted them against Blur. The Battle of Britpop saw Blur’s “Country House” outselling Oasis’ “Roll With It,” and the bands’ management chiming in to defend their clients. The media also contrasted Oasis’ Manchester origins and blue-collar background with Blur’s middle-class London upbringing. But it was Noel Gallagher’s declaration that Blur members should “catch AIDS and die” that really shocked the masses.

#1 – Dave Mustaine versus Metallica

Kicked out of Metallica for his bad behavior and substance abuse, Dave Mustaine vowed to create a faster and heavier band with Megadeth. Though they quickly become one of thrash metal’s Big Four, Mustaine continued to trash his former band, and his fans went along for the ride. Metallica’s “Some Kind of Monster” documentary added fuel to the fire as the bands continued to trade insults for several years.

Do you agree with our list? If you didn’t see a music feud you were expecting, be sure to check out our Top 10 Hip Hop Feuds and Rivalries and subscribe to for more entertaining top 10s.

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