Rivals: Music's Greatest Feuds

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Category: Music Commentary

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Tristan Heles
 Aug 28, 2020

 Apr 11, 2020
Thoughtful insights into the bands. Really enjoy it.


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.

Episode Date
Disharmony Part 3: Young vs. Crosby, Stills and Nash
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 and masterful passive aggressive manipulation. While CSN prioritized the collective, Young felt allegiance to no one but himself and used the band's immense popularity as a launching pad for his burgeoning solo career. His willingness to walk away at the slightest provocation forced the other three to cater to his whims, tipping the delicate balance of power in his direction. As the drawing power of CSNY became exponentially greater than CSN, the trio would be forced to make even greater concessions to the mercurial Young. CSNY would be done Neil’s way, or not at all — much to the chagrin of Stills.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 16, 2020
Introducing: Blood on the Tracks an iHeartRadio Original
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 and more. Just like Phil Spector, this podcast sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. Because you can’t push the needle into the red, without leaving a little blood on the tracks. Blood On The Tracks launches August 12, 2020 and will be released weekly on Wednesdays. This podcast is explicit and features adult content. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 13, 2020
Disharmony Part 2: Stills vs. Crosby, Nash, and Young
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 Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young. While Young could exert his power often by acting in a passive-aggressive way, Stills was driven to a series of impotent power grabs, before finally faltering from alcohol and drug abuse. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 09, 2020
Disharmony Part 1: Crosby vs. Stills, Nash, and Young
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 slink between Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, paving the way for the most successful supergroup ever. However, personal tragedy and a raging ego would cause him to fall into an abyss of drug abuse in the '80s. Miraculously, he survived, but then he proceeded to alienate his bandmates by repeatedly putting his foot in his mouth in interviews. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sep 02, 2020
Klash of the Kinks: Ray Davies vs. Dave Davies
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-punk guitar and Carnaby Street flair, injecting the vibrant spirit of Swinging London into the group. Both men were crucial to the Kinks’ success, but Dave felt constantly undervalued by his elder sibling. Ray, meanwhile, struggled with the burden of being the band’s chief songwriter and grew resentful of his freewheeling brother. Their contrasting personalities ultimately tore the band apart, leading to a split in 1996. When the brothers announced a reunion in 2018, most fans couldn’t help but wonder: Was two decades enough to chill these guys out? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 26, 2020
Wartimes: David Byrne vs. The Other Talking Heads
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 slinked rhythm section of Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. Years after their acrimonious breakup, Chris and Tina would claim that David stole credit for songs and ideas. And yet ... they kept wanting to work with him. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 19, 2020
Blues Rock Blues: Jack White vs. The Black Keys
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 from his ex-wife) that he was being ripped off. But it is possible that there really is room for all these dudes to play good time rock 'n' roll? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 12, 2020
Anger Mismanagement: Creed vs. Limp Bizkit
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. What was it about these bands that so enchanted people once upon a time? And why did they come to hate each other? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Aug 05, 2020
Introducing: Speed of Sound
Speed of Sound is the podcast that breaks down the stories behind the pop songs - and sounds - that topped the charts and shaped the soundtrack of generations. It's hosted by Steve Greenberg, a multi-Grammy Award winning record producer and all-around music obsessive. Tune in for an all access pass to music's biggest moments from sock hops to hip hop to k-pop; you won't want to miss a beat. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 31, 2020
Diamonds and Rust: Bob Dylan vs. Joan Baez
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 early days. Dylan, for his part, resented Baez’s pressure to use his platform for overt political statements and sought to distance himself from the “protest singer” movement she represented. Their romance ended by the mid-‘60s, but their time together would inspire some of their best late-era work. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 29, 2020
Introducing: The VladTV Podcast
VladTV is the world's leading source of celebrity interviews and urban news. Our exclusive content provides the hard-hitting interviews from your favorite urban artists, actors, athletes and cultural figures. If it's making noise in the culture, we're providing the information, education, and commentary from unique voices in the community - past or present. Find The VladTV Podcast on the iHeartRadio App or wherever you get your podcasts! https://ihr.fm/3eTHKCU Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 25, 2020
Shoe Drama: Nicki Minaj vs. Cardi B
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-throwing incident. In the end, however, is this feud really about the sexism of an industry in which only one female MC is allowed to succeed at once? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 22, 2020
Culture Warriors: Neil Young vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd
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? In this episode, we talk about how the larger culture seized upon the Neil Young vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd binary as part of a larger, ongoing culture war, simplifying what was otherwise a friendly, complex dynamic between two legendary artists. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 15, 2020
Moonman Mania: Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift
“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 are treated in the United States. Over the years their public personas have swung from victim to oppressor, idol to pariah. The beef explores the fickle nature of public tastes, the weaponization of social media, and the way “reality culture” impacts our actual reality. And it also examines some of the biggest hits of the 2010s. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 08, 2020
Wibbling Rivalry Revisited: Liam Gallagher vs. Noel Gallagher
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. Is Oasis all about the music or the mayhem? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jul 01, 2020
Bslink Beef: Mark Hoppus vs. Tom DeLonge
As co-founders of bslink-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 sidelined by other interests. Bslink carried on without him as DeLonge performed intermittently with his new band, Angels & Airwaves, but the man who one sang “Aliens Exist” has devoted most of his energy to the study of UFOs. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 24, 2020
Which One's Pink: Roger Waters vs. David Gilmour
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 ultimately sent Waters packing. He thought he was Pink Floyd by himself, but Gilmour later proved him wrong — or did he? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 17, 2020
Alt-Enemies: Smashing Pumpkins vs. Pavement
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 him, a worldview that has curdled over time in strange and unexpected ways. In the end, Corgan's ire for Malkmus is a parable about how assuming the world is against you is a good way to turn the world against you. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 10, 2020
Boys Brouhaha: Backstreet Boys vs. *NSYNC
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 off. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Jun 03, 2020
Folkie Fight: Simon vs. Garfunkel
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 initial gripes never seemed to go away. Paul thought Artie never worked hard enough, and Artie thought Paul had a "Napoleon complex." In the end, their gentle music masked a lot of interpersonal aggression. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 27, 2020
Press Punks: Axl Rose vs. Everyone in "Get In The Ring"
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 them to fight. But when they accept his challenge, Axl never shows. “Get in the Ring” crystalizes the dichotomy between the singer’s brawling bad boy reputation and his actual actions, and raises questions about how celebrities defend themselves against critics. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 20, 2020
Eminem vs. Machine Gun Kelly: Rap Devils
Slim Shady enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the all time greatest rappers, but in 2015 Machine Gun Kelly made a play for his “Blonde MC from the Midwest” crown — and hit on his teenage daughter in the process. Subliminal lyric disses sparked a nuclear response from Em, resulting in a war of words in songs and interviews that has continued sporadically ever since. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 13, 2020
Beatle Brawls Part 2: Lennon/McCartney vs. Harrison
It’s the second part of our series about the power struggles inside the greatest rock band ever! Within the Beatles, the unquestioned power couple was John Lennon and Paul McCartney. But in the band’s later years, George Harrison emerged as a major creative force, writing hit songs like “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun.” And yet he struggled to gain respect from his two big brothers in the Fab Four, even after the band broke up. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
May 06, 2020
Beatle Brawls Part 1: Lennon vs. McCartney
It’s our two-episode arc on the intra-band beefs that occurred inside the greatest rock band of all time! In this episode, we look at the partnership at the heart of the Beatles between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. After they bonded as boys in Liverpool over shared childhood tragedy and common artistic ambitions, their friendship slowly frayed as the Beatles grew more and more popular. John was the adventurous wit and Paul was the canny romantic — or at least that’s what the archetypes are. But in reality, their difficult dynamic is far more complicated. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 29, 2020
The 1975 vs. Imagine Dragons: Cred Wars
The almost oppressive ubiquity of Imagine Dragons’ songs like “Radioactive” and “Thunder” made the band an easy target for criticism, even from fellow musicians. In 2017, The 1975 lead singer Matty Healy accused Dan Reynolds and Co. of singing songs about “nothingness” and not taking advantage of their global platform to enact positive change. Reynolds, a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community, took offense and slammed Healy for adding to the negativity prevalent in the music industry. This episode of Rivals examines their feud and explores why one band became an object of ridicule and the other a critical favorite — despite the fact that they’re more similar than they are different. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 22, 2020
Toby Keith vs. the Dixie Chicks: Boot Battle
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, country superstar Toby Keith released “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).” Some embraced the song as the perfect rallying cry for an angry and traumatized nation. Others felt it was a crude, hateful, jingoistic anthem about putting your boot in someone’s ass. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks fell squarely in the latter camp, and denounced the hit tune in interviews. Months later, when the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted from the country music community following their onstage criticism of President Bush and the invasion of Iraq, Keith was quick to peg the band as unpatriotic traitors. Though they eventually buried the hatchet with Keith, the Dixie Chicks remain exiled from the country scene and their once-thriving career has never recovered. Their feud gets to the complicated truth of what happens when an artist publicly takes a political stance.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 15, 2020
Jeff Tweedy vs. Jay Farrar: Alt-Country Conflict
Before they started their own successful bands, Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar were boyhood friends who formed a group called Uncle Tupelo in the 1980s. Uncle Tupelo wasn't all that famous or successful in their time, but historically they would prove hugely influential on a generation of alt-country acts. Farrar was the creatively dominant force in that band, but Tweedy quickly came into his own, which created tension that eventually boiled over. Even after the success of Tweedy's band Wilco and Farrar's band Son Volt, fans continue to debate over who was in the right. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 08, 2020
Mike Love vs. Brian Wilson: Beach Brawl
At the heart of the Beach Boys, one of America's biggest bands ever, are two men: Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Brian is the songwriter and resident genius, and Mike is the cocksure frontman. For most of the 1960s, their partnership worked as the Beach Boys scored dozens of hits. But a conflict over the magnum opus "Pet Sounds" revealed that Brian was out to pursue high art at all costs, while Mike prefered to stick with "the formula." For the next 50 years, this battle has raged over what truly constitutes the "real" Beach Boys. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Apr 01, 2020
Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam: Flannel Fight
At the height of Nirvana’s success in the early ‘90s, Kurt Cobain slammed fellow Seattle grunge gods Pearl Jam in the press, labeling them bandwagon-jumping “corporate puppets” who aped his band’s style in the vapid pursuit of fame. Eddie Vedder, a great admirer of Kurt’s, never retaliated publicly, but their relationship grew strained as Pearl Jam’s popularity eclipsed Nirvana’s. Before the two could settle their differences, Cobain took his own life — leaving Eddie to simultaneously mourn the loss of his hero and make sense of their complex, adversarial bond. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 25, 2020
Robbie Robertson vs. Levon Helm: Broken Band
When The Band first emerged in the late 1960s, they epitomized the era's hippie, back-to-the-land ethos. Every member was considered equal, and they played with an uncommon power and sensitivity as a leader-less ensemble on classics like "The Weight" and "Up On Cripple Creek." But as time wore on, and The Band got more successful, cracks in this foundation were caused by inequitable money distribution and petty arguments over attention. The central conflict was between Robbie Robertson, the guitarist and songwriter, and Levon Helm, the lead singer and soul of the group. After they broke up in 1976 with "The Last Waltz" concert, their spat became public, turning one of rock's greatest fairy tales into a sad cautionary tale about how commerce can really screw up art. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 18, 2020
Michael Jackson vs. Prince: Who’s Bad?
Though he’d achieved complete commercial domination with Thriller, the King of Pop spent much of the ‘80s looking over his shoulder at the Prince of Paisley Park. As far as MJ was concerned, the musical landscape was big enough for only one eccentric, androgynous, Midwest-raised genre-bending star with killer dance moves and a propensity for Xanadu-like private compounds. He even crafted “Bad” as a duet to serve as their on-mic showdown, but the Purple One turned him down. Over the years they duked it out in the charts, onstage, and even on the Ping-Pong table. The rivalry pushed them towards artistic greatness, but despite a begrudging mutual respect, the pair would never be simpatico. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 11, 2020
Elton John vs. Billy Joel: Piano Men
Elton and Billy’s parallel careers intersected with a long-running duets tour, but things went south after Billy abruptly backed out in 2010. Elton publicly blamed Billy’s alcoholism and criticized his lack of recent musical output. An irate Billy fired back by saying Elton’s latest albums were lackluster and dragged down his legacy. The public sniping ultimately died down but their feud highlighted the two paths available to Artists of a Certain Age: fall back on past glories or valiantly press on at the risk of artistic misfires. In other words, is it better to burn out or fade away? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mar 04, 2020
Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry: Bad Blood
The two pop queens started off as friends, sharing sweet birthday tweets and cat photos. Things got a little weird when they shared a man — John Mayer — but a case of pilfered backing dancers in 2014 made them, in Taylor’s words, “straight-up enemies.” Taylor threw the first punch by alluding to Perry’s misdeeds in a highly publicized interview. Then she dropped the track “Bad Blood” and its big budget Superhero Mean Girls video. The war of words continued in songs, social media and the press for years until the two hugged it out in Taylor’s 2019 video for “You Need to Calm Down.” A truce was declared but, to quote Katy, is it ever really over? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 26, 2020
Stevie Nicks vs. Lindsey Buckingham: Packing Up, Shacking Up
Stevie and Lindsey started as bandmates and bedmates before their love curdled into the toxic-yet-kinky antipathy that inspired Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 classic Rumors. This episode of Rivals unpacks the storied love triangle (or is it a love quadrilateral?) within the band’s ranks, and the searing resentment that spurred the pair to create some of the greatest songs/hate-sex anthems in rock. After Stevie ousted Lindsey from Fleetwood Mac in 2018, it seemed like these two might go their own way for good — but can they really stay apart? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 26, 2020
Introducing Rivals
Starting February 26th, join Steven Hyden and Jordan Runtagh as they explore the most notorious feuds in the music business. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Feb 19, 2020
Placeholder Trailer
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Jan 09, 2020