Rivals: Music's Greatest Feuds

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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
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