Rivals: Music's Greatest Feuds

Rivals: Music's Greatest Feuds

Beatles vs. Stones. Biggie vs. Tupac. Kanye vs. Taylor. Who do you choose? And what does that say about you? Actually, what do these endlessly argued-about pop music rivalries say about us? Music opinions bring out passionate debate in people, and music journalists/critics Steven Hyden and Jordan Runtagh know this firsthand. They’re both obsessed with the biggest (as well as the most obscure) rivalries in music history. Each week, they’ll break down the details of a different colorful feud, and attempt to figure out why many of our favorite pop and rock stars can’t seem to get along.... Show More

Episodes

September 22, 2020 60 min

Whitney Houston ruled the pop world in the late '80s with a string of infectious hits that included seven consecutive number ones. But when Mariah Carey burst onto the scene at the start of the new decade, America's Sweetheart turned bitter and famously shaded the newcomer in a series of interviews. The vocal powerhouses spent much of the '90s duking it out on the charts, breaking records with their multi-octave ranges....

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The final part of our epic trilogy exploring the rivalries within CSNY examines the arrival of Neil Young, whose introduction to the highly-combustible supergroup made the band all the more explosive. Initially hired by his ex-Buffalo Springfield rival Stephen Stills as a sideman for CSN’s live performances, Young earned a full partnership in the group. He ultimately became the most influential member through a mix of sheer talent ...

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Phil Spector: Murderer. Musical genius. His story is told from the perspective of those who knew him best, his famous so-called friends. Blood On The Tracks is part true crime, part historical fiction, part spoken word lo-fi beat noir brought to you by Jake Brennan, the host of the award winning music and true crime podcast, DISGRACELAND, featuring the fictionalized voices of Lenny Bruce, Ronnie Spector, Ike Turner, Debbie Harry an...

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In the second part of our special series on the rivalries within the greatest supergroup in rock history, CSNY, we look at the group's original musical leader, Stephen Stills. In the early days, he took the lead in the studio, writing many of the songs and playing most of the instruments on the band's iconic 1969 debut. But Stills' hold on CSN started to slip with the addition of Y — his old friend and nemesis from Buff...

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There are so many rivalries within Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young that we're devoting a three-episode arc to parsing them all. In our first episode of this special series, we focus on David Crosby, the one member of CSNY who is currently on the outs with everybody else in the band. But that wasn't true in the beginning: Back in the 1960s, he was the king of L.A., the ultimate scenester who acted as a link between Stephen S...

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Before the Gallaghers were even born, the Davies brothers were the quintessential Brit-Pop sibling rivalry, brawling backstage, onstage, and in the studio. Their creative tensions formed the crux of the Kinks, making them one of the most unique bands of the ’60s. Ray’s gift for observation and self-reflection allowed him to craft poetic social commentary couched in stately melodies. Extroverted Dave livened things up with raw proto...

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At a time when most punk and new wave bands cranked their guitars and jacked up their song tempos, Talking Heads came out of NYC with a completely original and utterly funky sound. By the early '80s, they were one of the most popular and infectious bands on the planet. But inside the band, it was life during wartime, especially between lead singer David Byrne and the romantically linked rhythm section of Chris Frantz and Tina W...

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In the late '90s, The White Stripes came on the scene as a true anomaly: A post-modern blues-rock duo from the Midwest. A few years later, however, another blues-rock duo from the Midwest, the Black Keys, emerged and eventually became one of the most popular rock bands in America. After the White Stripes folded in the early 2010s, Jack White started speaking out about these upstarts, claiming in interviews (and leaked emails fr...

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In the late '90s, a time of peace and prosperity for America, two of this country's biggest bands were Creed and Limp Bizkit. In retrospect, they seem like perfect signifiers for a decadent, bored nation on the verge of a major fall. But at the time, these groups ended up raging against each other, with their respective frontmen, Scott Stapp and Fred Durst, almost coming to blows over a misunderstanding at a music festival....

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Joan Baez was the undisputed queen of folk in the early ‘60s when she began sharing the stage with her new boyfriend, a Woody Guthrie-worshipping up-and-comer from Duluth who went by Bob Dylan. Thanks in no small part to Baez’s early support, Dylan quickly ascended to the height of fame and cultural influence. As his career eclipsed her own, Baez grew frustrated that he wasn’t as generous with the spotlight as she had been in his e...

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July 21, 2020 62 min

For much of the 2010s, Nicki Minaj was the most successful female rapper on the planet, selling more albums than any woman in hip-hop ever. But then a former exotic dancer, reality show star, and political science major named Cardi B exploded on the scene, stealing much of Minaj's thunder in the process. Nicki, of course, was not about to take this lying down, sparking a war of words that culminated with an infamous shoe-throwi...

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In the early '70s, Neil Young wrote two classic songs about the south — "Southern Man" and "Alabama" — that annoyed one of his biggest fans, Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd. So Ronnie co-wrote "Sweet Home Alabama," which became a hit song and a defining southern rock anthem. Among the song's fans was Neil Young, who formed a mutual appreciation society with Van Zant. So ... where's the rivalry?...

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“Imma let you finish but…” When Kanye West crashed Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he ignited one of the most compelling and complex music rivalries ever. More than a decade later, their feud continues to captivate because it’s multi-faceted. It’s a discussion of an older man publicly disrespecting a talented younger woman — but it’s also a discussion of white privilege and how people of color a...

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There's a long history of sibling rivalry infecting some of the biggest acts in pop and rock. But there is perhaps no greater example than the brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis. From the time they broke out in the mid-'90s, these British bad boys have been at each other's throats. The core of their argument boils down to a simple philosophical disagreement about the value of art vs. rock 'n' roll chaos. ...

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As co-founders of blink-182, Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge produced some of the most joyous and gleefully immature pop-punk of the ‘90s. But behind the rapid-fire riffs and plentiful dick jokes, creative tensions between the pair escalated. DeLonge’s desire to pursue a wide variety of musical and professional avenues led to lengthy hiatus in the mid ‘00s. A high profile reunion was going fine for a time, until DeLonge was again sidel...

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Pink Floyd is one of the greatest and most successful bands of all time, and that is due mostly to the lyrics and ideas of Roger Waters and the guitar-playing and musical acumen of David Gilmour. Together, they guided the band through masterworks like "Dark Side Of The Moon" and "Wish You Were Here." But just as they achieved massive popularity, their partnership came undone by a destructive power struggle that ulti...

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In 1994, Stephen Malkmus of Pavement wrote a snarky song called "'Range Life" in which he made a few snide remarks about one of the world's most popular alternative rock bands, Smashing Pumpkins. Little did he know that this song would spark a rivalry that would last for decades. Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan interpreted "Range Life" as yet another example of "elite" people looking down on hi...

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In the late 1990s, there were no bigger boy bands than the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. They might have ended up as rivals anyway given that they operated in the same lane of sweet ballads and synchronized dances. But the tension between was ratcheted up because they had the same "Big Poppa," the infamous impresario Lou Pearlman. Eventually, however, their sniping ceased once the groups realized they were both being ripped o...

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May 26, 2020 62 min

Together, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel formed one of the most popular and critically acclaimed duos in rock history, producing classic songs like "Mrs. Robinson" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." But from the time they met as children, they were also competing with each other — for credit, for attention, and even for money. As the years went on, and they continued to reunite and then swiftly fall apart, their initia...

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Guns N' Roses were the biggest rock band in the world by 1991 — but that didn’t mean they were impervious to criticism. Their double-barreled smash ‘Use Your Illusion’ featured the song “Get in the Ring,” in which the notoriously thin-skinned Axl Rose struck back against those he felt had wronged him in the press. The track is notable for its complete lack of ambiguity. He specifically names music journalists and challenges the...

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