Classic Rock

The Strangest Feuds That Really Happened In Music History

todayMarch 14, 2024 2

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From clashing egos to genuine creative differences, the world of music is no stranger to feuds.  These battles between artists can be intense, fueled by a desire to prove musical superiority or simply a dislike for each other’s personalities.

But not all feuds are born from such serious motives.  Sometimes, the sparks that ignite musical warfare are downright bizarre, leaving fans scratching their heads and wondering what on earth these artists are fighting about.

Prepare to be entertained (and maybe a little confused) as we delve into some of the strangest musical feuds ever documented. These are the head-scratching rivalries that defy logic and make you wonder if maybe someone forgot to send the memo about keeping it professional.

Sun Kil Moon vs. The War on Drugs

Things got loud (and we’re not just talking about the music) at a music festival in 2014. Sun Kil Moon frontman Mark Kozelek, known for his blunt personality, took aim at indie rockers The War on Drugs.

The reason? Sound bleed from The War on Drugs’ set interfered with Sun Kil Moon’s performance. Kozelek’s response? A crudely titled song directed at the band.

The feud escalated when The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel called Kozelek a “douche,” leading to another diss track from Kozelek. This short-lived but strange clash became a minor cause célèbre among music fans.

Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry

The friendship between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry hit a rough patch thanks to John Mayer.  Both singers dated the guitarist, and things reportedly turned sour in the process.

Swift accused Perry of trying to sabotage her tour and behaving in a way that turned them into “straight-up enemies.” Perry added fuel to the fire by calling Swift “Regina George in sheep’s clothing” on social media, referencing the movie Mean Girls.

Oasis vs. Blur

The camaraderie between Britpop titans Oasis and Blur evaporated in 1995 at a seemingly innocuous party. Reports claim Damon Albarn and Liam Gallagher clashed, marking a sharp turn from the months prior when they complimented each other and appeared friendly.

This animosity festered for years, fueled further when Noel Gallagher, Liam’s brother and former Oasis bandmate, collaborated with Albarn. In 2017, Albarn took a jab at Liam, sarcastically questioning his opinion on Blur’s new song.

Liam, true to form, responded with a fiery tweet threatening Albarn and mocking his influence on Noel. This exchange solidified their status as bitter rivals, a long-running feud that continues to define Britpop’s legacy.

Morrissey vs. Robert Smith

The world of alternative rock seems to have a patent on dark and gloomy music, but Morrissey and Robert Smith of The Cure appear to have cornered the market on personal animosity. Their feud ignited during a seemingly harmless interview when Morrissey, known for his sardonic wit, was asked a morbid hypothetical about eliminating musicians.

His response, suggesting he’d take out both The Cure’s frontman and another musician, clearly struck a nerve with Smith, who went on record expressing his dislike for Morrissey. The gloves officially came off when Morrissey responded with a particularly cutting insult, solidifying their place as musical enemies.

Nirvana vs. Guns N’ Roses

The clash between Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses is a well-worn tale in rock history. Surprisingly, it didn’t begin with animosity. Axl Rose, frontman of Guns N’ Roses, was actually a Nirvana fan and even extended a tour invitation in 1992. However, Cobain rejected the offer, perceiving Guns N’ Roses as inauthentic and commercial.

This sparked a war of words. Rose went on the offensive, hurling insults at Cobain and his wife Courtney Love, accusing them of drug use and endangering their child. The situation turned volatile at the 1992 MTV VMAs. Love’s sarcastic request for Rose to be their child’s godfather ignited a verbal altercation, with threats exchanged between Rose and Cobain.

The feud simmered after Cobain’s tragic death, but tempers have cooled over time. Band members from both sides, most notably Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose and Slash, have even collaborated on stage in recent years.

Jack White vs. The Black Keys

Jack White, guitarist for the White Stripes, and The Black Keys harbored a simmering feud for years. It reportedly began with White barring Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach from his Nashville studio, fueled by perceived similarities in their musical styles.

Personal tensions came to light during White’s divorce proceedings, with leaked emails revealing his disapproval of their children attending the same school as Auerbach’s. The animosity seemingly escalated to a physical altercation between White and drummer Patrick Carney at a New York bar.

However, the feud took an unexpected turn when White directly contacted Carney, clearing the air and expressing mutual respect. This put the brakes on the rivalry, leaving fans surprised by the sudden reconciliation.

Justin Bieber vs. The Black Keys

An unlikely feud erupted between Justin Bieber and The Black Keys’ Carney. It all started on social media when Carney took aim at Bieber’s Grammy win. Bieber responded aggressively, suggesting Carney deserved a physical altercation. This triggered a wave of bullying from Bieber’s fans towards Carney, with some resorting to death threats.

Carney rightly pointed out the hypocrisy of Bieber inciting violence while advocating against bullying. The entire incident highlighted the darker side of online fan culture and the strange dynamic that can ignite feuds between seemingly unconnected artists.

Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift

Kanye West and Taylor Swift’s feud is a pop culture rollercoaster. It all began with a shocking moment at the 2009 MTV VMAs when West infamously interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech. After an apology and a seemingly peaceful period, things took a turn in 2016.

West’s song “Famous” contained controversial lyrics about Swift, sparking her criticism. The situation escalated further when Kim Kardashian released a snippet of a recorded conversation, supposedly proving Swift approved the lyrics. This ignited a social media firestorm and solidified their status as bitter rivals.

Keith Richards vs. Elton John

Keith Richards and Elton John’s relationship has been a contentious one for decades. The Rolling Stone and the flamboyant singer have traded barbs in the press for years, with Richards even stating he wouldn’t be sad to see John retire.

Things escalated in 1997 when Richards criticized John for re-recording his 1973 song “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to Princess Diana. John retaliated with biting insults, calling Richards “pathetic” and suggesting the Stones would have been better off without him. This public takedown cemented their status as musical frenemies.

Prince vs. Michael Jackson

Though their disagreements never became a public spectacle, tensions ran high between Prince and Michael Jackson. Leaked audio recordings from 1988 offer a glimpse into Jackson’s perspective on their rivalry.

He expressed dislike for constant comparisons, claiming his long-standing career made them unfair. Jackson perceived Prince as a competitor, even fearing the rivalry could negatively impact Prince’s well-being. The recordings further hinted at personal animosity, with Jackson describing Prince as “very rude” and disrespectful towards his family.

Written by: Best Classic Bands Staff

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