13 Legendary (and Some Lesser Known) Music Feuds of the ‘80s & ‘90s

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of MARILYN MANSON (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)
Axl vs Bob Guccione Jr.
1/39

The fifth song on Guns N’ Roses’ 1991 studio album Use Your Illusion II, “Get in the Ring” is a vehement and unruly diss track aimed at music critics. Amongst those explicitly mentioned were Andy Secher of Hit Parader and Mick Wall of Kerrang! But perhaps the most aggressive mention was aimed at SPIN’s publisher, Bob Guccione Jr.


Axl vs Bob Guccione Jr.
2/39

Bob Guccione Jr.’s father was the founder of Penthouse magazine – a popular lifestyle publication containing softcore pornographic pictorials. Evidently, Axl Rose, Duff McKagen, and Slash utilized this information when penning “Get in the Ring.” The song questions Guccione Jr.’s motives for criticizing the band: “What you pissed off ‘cause your dad gets more pussy than you?


Axl vs Bob Guccione Jr.
3/39

Guccione Jr. eventually accepted Axl’s challenge to a fight in a letter stating that the promotion could potentially help sales. However, he later told the Miami Herald that Rose “wimped out” after learning of Guccione’s extensive karate training.


Trent Reznor vs Marilyn Manson
4/39

In the early ‘90s, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor created his own label, Nothing Records. Shortly after, he signed Marilyn Manson to the label and produced both their 1994 debut album and their 1995 EP, Smells Like Children.  


Trent Reznor vs Marilyn Manson
5/39

When their cover of the 1983 Eurythmics hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” took over MTV, Marilyn Manson solidified themselves as the spine-chilling, shock-rock band of a decade. But things between Reznor and Manson quickly soured when the drug-addicted singers creatively disagreed.


Trent Reznor vs Marilyn Manson
6/39

There were a number of reasons for the rising tension between the two: drugs, jealousy, and betrayal. Years after the infamous feud, Manson took to The Howard Stern Show to set the record straight. In short, the singer explained that creative differences on the album Antichrist Superstar and miscommunication about getting sober led to the since-forgiven fallout.  


Kurt Cobain vs Axl Rose
7/39

In the late ‘80s, glam rock ruled the airwaves. It wasn’t until the early ‘90s that Seattle grunge drove a stake deep into its heart, nailing the coffin shut with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind.


Kurt Cobain vs Axl Rose
8/39

A fan (or perhaps a coattail rider) of the emerging genre, Axl Rose invited Nirvana to play at his birthday party and tour alongside Guns N’ Roses. However, Kurt Cobain, who famously sought to distance himself and his band from corporate control, rejected Axl’s request, even verbally denouncing the group in an interview: “We’re not your typical Guns ‘N’ Roses type of band that has absolutely nothing to say.”


Kurt Cobain vs Axl Rose
9/39

Naturally, Axl reacted to the rejection poorly, publicly calling Cobain and his wife Courtney Love “junkies” and positing that their newborn daughter was disfigured. Then, in 1992, the two bands crossed paths again during the MTV VMAs. As Axl Rose walked by Nirvana, Love shouted in his direction: “Axl, you’re the godfather [of Frances Bean Cobain].” Axl retorted: “You shut your bitch up, or I’m taking you down to the pavement.”


Billy Corgan vs Courtney Love
10/39

Back in 1991, before her infamous marriage to grunge idol Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love dated Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. That same year, Courtney Love accompanied her boyfriend to the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, where Nirvana was also performing.


Billy Corgan vs Courtney Love
11/39

Unwilling to pay for Love’s flight home, Corgan forced the Hole singer to travel by ferry alongside Nirvana. It was on this voyage that Love and Cobain’s romance commenced. In an interview years later, Love recalls, “I had a crush on Kurt; he was gorgeous, I mean he was beautiful, and enigmatic, and evasive. I still was dating and sleeping with Billy Corgan, but he kind of lost me at this moment.”


Billy Corgan vs Courtney Love
12/39

Despite the breakup, the two singers managed to remain civil until 2010, when Corgan accused Love of using songs he wrote on her solo album Nobody’s Daughter. Corgan tweeted, “Maybe you should go [somewhere] nice [and] live off your husband's money, [you] know, the money he made for writing all those great songs. Fortunately, the two were able to squash the beef in 2014.


Courtney Love vs Dave Grohl
13/39

In 1991, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain wed in Honolulu. Three years later, the Nirvana frontman was found dead in his Seattle home. Before his untimely death, the band had already experienced tribulations involving Kurt’s drug use and Love’s bad influence on the singer, but the residual drama had yet to ensue.


Courtney Love vs Dave Grohl
14/39

Then, in 1999, Dave Grohl appeared on The Howard Stern Show. The former drummer was asked to name his favorite Hole song. Implying that Kurt Cobain wrote most of Love’s songs, Grohl responded, “Teenage Whore,” because he knew “Courtney [actually] wrote it.”


Courtney Love vs Dave Grohl
15/39

Following a string of disagreements about the release of posthumous Nirvana songs, Love and the band became entangled in legal disputes. Then, in 2007, Foo Fighters released their album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, which contains the song “Let it Die.” When questioned if the song’s controversial lyrics were about Love, Grohl said, “There are a lot of people that I've been angry with in my life, but the one that's most noted is Courtney. So, it's pretty obvious to me that those correlations are going to pop up every now and again.”


Tupac vs Biggie
16/39

At the peak of their careers, Tupac and Biggie were tragically slain – both in separate drive-by shootings by still-unknown assailants. Ostensibly, their deaths were the result of an East Coast-West Coast feud fueled by the media and word of mouth.


Tupac vs Biggie
17/39

Initially friends, their creative competition took a turn for the worst when Tupac was shot five times while entering a New York studio. Shakur recalled seeing members of Biggie’s crew, Junior M.A.F.I.A., present at the time of his attempted assassination and quickly called the incident a “set up.”


Tupac vs Biggie
18/39

Shortly after, Biggie released the single “Who Shot Ya,” a song with eerily coincidental lyrics Biggie claimed were penned long before Tupac was violently assaulted. Tupac retaliated with the diss track “Hit ‘Em Up,” claiming to have slept with Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans, and waging an all-out war amongst the two rappers.


Limp Bizkit vs Creed
19/39

Limp Bizkit and Creed, perhaps two of the most different and detested bands of the decade, found themselves in a feud during K-ROCK’s Dysfunctional Family Picnic in New Jersey. An hour late to the stage, Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst took to the microphone to talk sh*t about Creed’s lead singer, Scott Stapp.


Limp Bizkit vs Creed
20/39

Instead of apologizing for his tardiness, Fred Durst announced to the audience that Scott Stapp was backstage “acting like Michael Jackson.” Following the “diss,” Creed released a statement referring to Durst as “immature and egotistical.” Stapp later challenged Durst to a charity boxing match.


Limp Bizkit vs Creed
21/39

According to a statement released after Durst’s outburst, Limp Bizkit was late to the stage because Durst refused to perform both before nightfall and essentially open for Creed. After pleading with the lead singer, organizers were able to get Durst to the stage on one condition: he was first able to finish his dinner.


Prince vs Michael Jackson
22/39

Prince and Michael Jackson – the high-pitched heavyweights of the ‘80s and ‘90s – were embroiled in a raucous rivalry that involved more than pop-chart supremacy. Though their trajectories were wildly different, the two musicians ended up face-to-face when it came to fame.


Prince vs Michael Jackson
23/39

Where Prince played a plethora of musical instruments (including the guitar), Michael Jackson moon-walked seamlessly across the stage with unmatched presence. Where Michael found grand fame early on, Prince’s rise was one filled with faux pas. As the competition between the two grew, so did the animosity. In an interview, Michael Jackson explained, “I have proven myself since I was real little. It’s not fair. He feels like I’m his opponent…I hope he changes because boy, he’s gonna get hurt. He’s the type that might commit suicide or something…I don’t like to be compared to Prince.”


Prince vs Michael Jackson
24/39

But the beef between Prince and Michael Jackson was anything but simple. In fact, it’s a long, long saga. In short, the two harbored hatred for one another over a slew of incidences: Prince trying to run MJ over with his limo, failed duet attempts, and voodoo hexes.


Keith Richards vs Mick Jagger
25/39

The Rolling Stones have been together for nearly 60 years. Naturally, like brothers confined to the same home for too long, the members were bound to fight. Richards described it like so: “Being in the Rolling Stones is like being married, having a baby, and no possibility for divorce.”


Keith Richards vs Mick Jagger
26/39

Though arguably two of the most famed musicians in history, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are no exception to rivalry. In fact, these two have been going at it for decades. It’s difficult to narrow down their disputes, as the two have dozens of disagreements.


Keith Richards vs Mick Jagger
27/39

From Richards calling Jagger’s private part a “tiny todger” to Jagger joining the ranks of royalty (to Richards’ dismay), the bandmates have been feuding for what seems like forever. Perhaps, however, their quarreling is what’s kept them together. Despite each branching out to work on solo projects, they’ve since returned to their roots, The Rolling Stones.


Mariah Carey vs Whitney Houston
28/39

By the time Mariah Carey burst onto the scene, Whitney Houston was already a twice-platinum superstar. However, it didn’t take long for the media to start comparing the two powerhouses to one another.


Mariah Carey vs Whitney Houston
29/39

After Carey’s self-titled album aggressively outsold Houston’s third album, Houston was asked what she thought of the 20-year-old “Some Sweet Day” singer. Houston responded nonchalantly, “What do I think of her? I don’t think of her.” The media, however, with their ever-malicious nature, excluded the portion of Houston’s quote that continued, “Musically, I think she’s a good singer.”


Mariah Carey vs Whitney Houston
30/39

Though the press tried to drive a wedge between the two singers, they eventually came together to record “When You Believe” for the Prince of Egypt soundtrack. The song won an Academy Award in 1999, and Houston officially squashed the beef on The Oprah Winfrey Show, explaining their undeniable “magic” and camaraderie was like that “old girlfriends.”


Metallica vs Megadeth
31/39

In 1983, former Metallica guitarist and founder Dave Mustaine was fired from the band after a slew of disagreements and some detrimental drug and alcohol abuse. The firing, however, happened quite suddenly. Mustaine was awoken by the other band members and told, while hungover, that his time was up.


Metallica vs Megadeth
32/39

What’s more, the remaining band members had booked Mustaine a bus ride scheduled to depart only an hour after he’d been fired. On that ride, armed with the knowledge that the band he’d founded was off to record an album for which he’d helped write most of the songs, Mustaine decided to create another band – Megadeth.


Metallica vs Megadeth
33/39

Today, Mustaine doesn’t harbor as much animosity as he once did, admitting that his addiction had, indeed, played a large part in his downfall. He maintains, however, that the way the remaining members of Metallica handled the situation was downright dirty.


Rick James vs Prince
34/39

In a perfect world, two emerging icons would become the best of friends, bonding endlessly over their shared talent and immense creativity. Fame, however, is an untamable animal. Enter Prince and Rick James, two unique megastars who materialized in the late ‘70s.


Rick James vs Prince
35/39

Though the two toured together in 1980, they weren’t what one would call “friendly.” James once accused Prince of hijacking his persona – specifically his dance moves. He also went on to essentially call Prince a joke, stating that his music wasn’t to be taken seriously.


Rick James vs Prince
36/39

Prince also harbored hatred for James, once refusing to sign an autograph for the “Super Freak” singer’s mother. This rejection was the origin of a long-lasting feud between the two flamboyant musicians.


Nirvana vs Pearl Jam
37/39

For Nirvana – and especially Kurt Cobain – it didn’t matter if a band was their contemporary or even fans of their music: they were all hated alike. This included Pearl Jam, a rock band from Nirvana’s own hometown.


Nirvana vs Pearl Jam
38/39

Kurt Cobain accused Pearl Jam of being “careerists,” a band “only in it for the money.” What’s more, the feud was seemingly one-sided. Pearl Jam had never gone on record saying anything negative about the competing trio.


Nirvana
39/39
Nirvana

Nirvana

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