DiscoverRivals: Music's Greatest Feuds
Rivals: Music's Greatest Feuds
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Rivals: Music's Greatest Feuds

Author: iHeartRadio

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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.

53 Episodes
The series premiere of 'Off the Record' explores the life — or, rather, lives — of David Bowie by examining each of his iconic personas. Major Tom. Ziggy Stardust. Aladdin Sane. The Thin White Duke. Taken collectively, these faces form a portrait of a one-of-a-kind rock legend. Follow his transformation from lonely London boy struggling to find his way in the Swinging Sixties to cultural innovator, whose relentless drive and daring nearly destroyed him. You know the songs, now meet the man. The 11-part season begins Monday, January 18th!  Learn more about your ad-choices at
Elvis Presley was the man to beat when Jerry Lee Lewis made the drive from small-town Louisiana to Memphis in 1956. The piano punisher had come for the King of Rock’s crown and was determined to show him up at every turn. Jerry Lee scored a deal on Elvis’ onetime label, employed the same management, and even some of the same songwriters. The pair duked it out in the charts in the late ‘50s, but the image conscious Elvis remained a much bigger crossover star than Jerry Lee, who relished his role as an uncompromising bad boy. When Elvis received his draft notice, Jerry Lee seemed poised to take over as rock’s leading voice. Then it all came crashing down as his troubling private life became public. Exiled from the rock ’n’ roll spotlight, Jerry Lee spent much of the ‘60s playing honky tonk dives and slowly rebuilding his musical career. Meanwhile, Elvis effectively abdicated his throne, trading electrifying singles for well-paying yet vapid films. Both men emerged from the wilderness by the end of the decade, spurring each other’s musical efforts. There was a begrudging respect between them, but Jerry Lee’s aggression sometimes got the best of him — like the time he showed up at Presley’s Graceland estate late one night with a gun. They didn’t call him “The Killer” for nothing. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Our series on The Eagles concludes with a look at the business dealings and lawsuits that took place behind the scenes and the man who helped to shape their early career, David Geffen. A Brooklyn kid whose mother called him King David, Geffen moved to L.A. in the sixties and swiftly became a mover and shaker. By the time he met The Eagles, he was a kingmaker in the local rock scene. But as The Eagles themselves became kings, their relationship with Geffen soured, setting the stage for Geffen's protege, Irving Azoff, to swoop in and become their new manager. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Our special series on The Eagles continues with their post-"Hotel California" years, in which the band was more popular than ever, selling one million albums per month while also falling apart. There was tension between the band's twin leaders, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, who fought for control of The Eagles. But most of the ire was focused around Don Felder, the talented guitarist who wrote the music for the song "Hotel California." This carried over to the band's reunion years in the 1990s, when they were making more money than ever. Felder resented Henley and Frey for not giving him equal say in the band, creating tension that resulted in his firing in 2001. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Welcome to our epic three-part series on all of the beefs, feuds, and simmering resentments that occurred inside one of the most successful bands in history, The Eagles. In part one, we cover the band's early years, which included multiple battles inside the band and out. First, there was the feud with Glyn Johns, the super producer known for working with the best British bands of the era who resisted Glenn Frey's urge to rock. Then there was Bernie Leadon, the genius instrumentalist who couldn't help but pour a beer on Glenn's head. And then there's sweet Randy Meisner, who was driven out of The Eagles because he wasn't "alpha." As an added bonus, we also cover The Eagles vs. Rolling Stone softball game. Yeah, that actually happened! Learn more about your ad-choices at
Back in the late 1980s, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E were members of N.W.A., one of the most important and iconic hip-hop groups ever. But in the wake of their historic 1988 album Straight Outta Compton, the two fell out over business disagreements. Once Dre went solo, he proceeded to rip Eazy apart on diss tracks prominently featured on his blockbuster LP The Chronic, forever fixing Eazy in the eyes of millions of pop fans as the clownish "Sleazy-E." A few years after that, however, Eazy tragically died at a young age, and Dre proceeded to recontextualize his relationship with Eazy, making it seem as though they never beefed bitterly at all. Learn more about your ad-choices at
This is an especially personal one for Steve — back when he was a Britpop-loving teen in the nineties, this was one of the first rock rivalries that he cared about. Which is odd, because in America, nobody really cared about Oasis vs. Blur the way people did in England, where they were the two biggest bands in the land. Blur were the knowing chroniclers of posh British society, and Oasis was the scrappy pub-rock band of the working class. While Blur was actually supportive of Oasis early on, Oasis looked at Blur as an impediment on their road to world domination, and proceeded to mercilessly bully them in public. In time, Oasis would come to massively overshadow Blur in terms of commercial success, though Blur's frontman Damon Albarn ultimately had a more lasting career outside of the band. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Before there was Megadeth, Dave Mustaine was the guitarist in a promising San Francisco thrash metal band called Metallica. And then he was fired for being an obnoxious drunk, a slight compounded by the fact that all the other members of Metallica were also obnoxious drunks. From then on, Mustaine was obsessed with getting his revenge, and he formed Megadeth with the purpose of dethroning Metallica from the top of the thrash metal heap. Alas, it proved difficult to compete with the most successful metal band in history. No matter what Mustaine did, he was destined for second place.  Learn more about your ad-choices at
Two burgeoning musical geniuses came together in the mid-60s to form the Velvet Underground, a group that expanded the definition of what a rock band could be. Lou Reed’s literary ambitions led him to craft lyrics steeped in the gritty language of the streets, while John Cale called upon his background in the avant garde music scene of downtown Manhattan. Their unique talents coalesced on tracks like “Venus in Furs,” “Sister Ray,” and “Heroin,” groundbreaking songs that laid the groundwork for punk, art-rock, and many other genres to come. The Velvet Underground’s historical influence cannot be overstated, but their lack of commercial success led to heightened tensions in the group. Reed felt his dominance challenged by Cale’s musical virtuosity and forced him out of the band, which would never achieve the same level of musical daring. Their prolific solo careers in the ’70s and beyond bore traces of their ex-partner, as Reed sought to bolster his artistic credentials with noise experiments, while Cale developed his gift for melody and song craft. Ultimately, it was the unexpected death of their estranged one-time benefactor, Andy Warhol, that brought the pair back together to make peace with themselves, their troubled history, and their towering musical legacy. Learn more about your ad-choices at
In the 1980s, the biggest rock band in the world was The Police. While all three members were blonde and good-looking, they were hardly a conventional success story. The Police was a supposed punk band composed of a prog-rock drummer, a jazzy bassist, and a guitarist who was pushing 40. But their unique chemistry (as well as Sting's trove of catchy pop songs) made them among the first acts to really break out during the MTV era. As they gained in popularity, however, they also grew to despise each other more and more, especially as Sting sought to take complete control of the band. As a result, they became the rare band to break up at the height of their popularity, though the members would remain frenemies for years afterward. Learn more about your ad-choices at
In the mid-'90s, no two rock stars struck more fear into the hearts of parents than Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson. These toxic twins started out having a teacher-student dynamic, with Reznor guiding Manson musically to stardom. But Manson's shock-rock antics soon overshadowed his mentor, who was hard at work for years trying to finish his masterwork "The Fragile." In time, Reznor would come to see Manson as a "dopey clown" while Manson seethed about Reznor literally losing the master recording to his early albums.  Learn more about your ad-choices at
For ‘80s babies, Britney and Christina represent the ultimate fan face-off. Originally friends and co-stars on The Mickey Mouse Club reboot in the early ‘90s, by the decade’s end they were pitted against one another in the press and in the charts. On the surface, the comparisons were obvious. They were two blonde, ex-Disney stars turned pop upstarts, barnstorming Billboard with suggestive ear-candy like “…Baby One More Time” and “Genie in a Bottle.” But a close listen to their discographies reveals a stark contrast between Britney’s bubble-gum electro-pop and Christina’s R&B leanings. As they grew older, their individual expressions of sexuality made them lightning rods for controversy. Soon they were forced into a troubling cultural dichotomy. The Southern-born Britney was portrayed in the media as the “Good Girl” who publicly renounced sex before marriage. The NYC-raised Christina Aguilera made no such proclamations. Her public “Bad Girl” reputation was enhanced by songs like “Dirrty” that celebrated her sexual agency. For a time, the cultural firestorm threatened to overshadow their massive talent. Now both are recognized as beloved entertainment icons. Learn more about your ad-choices at
If you were an alienated teenager in the 1980s — or an alienated teenager during any era who loves the music of the 1980s — then you have probably spent a lot of time listening to The Smiths and The Cure. But the lead singers of those bands, Morrissey and Robert Smith, hated listening to each other. Starting with an interview in 1984 in which Morrisey expressed his desire to shoot Smith, the rivalry between these two mope-rock kings has been vicious and often extremely hilarious. When it comes to crafting insults about overly sensitive individuals, Don Rickles has nothing on these guys. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Our special two-part series on the battles between Van Halen and their two most famous singers concludes with this exploration of the Van Hagar years. Before he joined Van Halen, Sammy Hagar was a journeyman rock howler with a love of fast cars and mind-controlling aliens. In retrospect, most fans prefer the Roth years, but Hagar was at the head of four consecutive no. 1 albums for Van Halen in the late 1980s and early '90s. And he had a true friendship with Eddie Van Halen, until various factors — including the Twister soundtrack — conspired against them. But in their prime, Van Hagar sold millions of albums to listeners hungry for synth-heavy power ballads with excellent guitar solos. Learn more about your ad-choices at
In tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen, we’re devoting a pair of episodes to the two distinct eras of his namesake band. The first installment explores the guitar virtuoso’s relationship with the group’s original frontman, a karate kicking, spandex wearing, hyperactive rock ’n’ roll peacock named David Lee Roth. More a musical marriage of convenience than genuine friendship, the sparks between the pair both onstage and in the studio helped make Van Halen the biggest band in the world. But fame inflated their egos, and soon the bandmates were at each other’s throats. Diamond Dave loathed Eddie’s use of synthesizers on the album 1984. The global success of the record — and the pop crossover smash “Jump” — wasn’t enough to repair their creative rift, and Roth departed Van Halen in 1985 in pursuit of solo stardom and a film career. The band carried on without him, first enlisting Sammy Hagar and (briefly) Gary Cherone, before finally welcoming him back into the fold in 2007 for a series of reunion tours and a new album. Fans rejoiced, but the old tensions were never far from the surface. Learn more about your ad-choices at
In the early '90s, no couple in rock was more notorious than Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. The tabloid circus that followed them wearied Cobain's bandmates in Nirvana, and that tension only grew worse after Cobain's untimely death in 1994. For the next 20 years, Courtney and Nirvana's former drummer and current Foo Fighter, Dave Grohl, engaged in a war of words in songs and Howard Stern interviews. In the process, cultural institutions like Guitar Hero and The Muppets were dragged into the melee. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Marvin Gaye's 1971 masterpiece What's Going On was recently voted by Rolling Stone magazine the greatest album of all time. But one person who was not a fan of that record initially was the head of Gaye's label, Berry Gordy, the visionary founder of Motown. Gordy believed that alienating white audiences and deviating from a proven pop-R&B formula was commercial poison. But even before What's Going On, Gaye and Gordy were at odds, playing out a twisted father-son dynamic that Gaye instilled from his own deeply troubled childhood. Over time, Gaye and Gordy's professional squabbles would spill into their personal lives, as Gaye married (and acrimoniously divorced) Gordy's sister Anna. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Joy Division and New Order are two of the greatest and most important post-punk bands of all time, and at the center of those groups are two men: Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook. For years, they had a fruitful partnership: Sumner was the quiet and introspective one, and Hook was the gregarious rocker. But as the '80s unfolded, and New Order became one of the era's top indie pop groups, their relationship started to break down from clashes over the artistic direction of the band and their incompatible personalities. After 30 years, they finally split up, and the resulting acrimony remains heated to this day. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Eric Clapton had earned a reputation as “God” in the mid-‘60s for his virtousic guitar work in R&B-inspired British bands like the Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Then an unknown American named Jimi Hendrix hit London in 1966 and changed the game entirely. Hendrix’s unparalleled playing and explosive style forged a new genre and redefined what it meant to be a guitarist — and sent the British boys back to the woodshed. Clapton’s status as London’s top axe-man had been challenged, but their rivalry was mostly a friendly one. Clapton was in awe of Hendrix’s talent and the pair bonded over music and mutual admiration. Hendrix’s tragic passing in 1970 left Clapton devastated. In the 50 years since, the reputations of both men have diverged. Hendrix has been sanctified in death and his immense talent seemingly magnified. Clapton, on the other hand, has been dinged for a series of questionable musical and personal decisions later in life. The question in this episode is not “Who’s the better guitarist?” but rather, “Is it better to burn out or fade away?” Learn more about your ad-choices at
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. Though they publicly buried the hatchet with a high profile duet, their relationship would forever be marked by competition. In addition to their supreme talent, both women were bonded by personal struggles that threatened to detail their musical careers. When Houston succumbed to her addictions in 2012, it was Carey who led the tributes to the fallen diva. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Comments (15)

Michael DeFauw

Sammy did sing DLR material live in concert. He sang You Really Got Me Now, Jump, Ain’t Talkin bout Love, Panama, Somebody Get Me a Doctor, Runnin With The Devil, Unchained as well as a Montrose song from time to time, like Rock Candy.

Apr 16th
Reply (1)


iheart are bonkers for not picking you guys up for another season. This is one of my favorite podcasts. Hope to hear you guys again on another network soon.

Jan 28th

Yasmine C

Don't blame Reznor. Manson's turned himself into a caricature. He's been a clown with crepe-y skin and pancake makeup since 2000.

Nov 30th

Ron Grant

LOOOOOVED this episode! Thanks for doing it!

Oct 15th

Phil Barksdale

how about the Van Halen wars. might be a 2 parter lol

Aug 19th

julie dodge

how about the Killers vs the Bravery

Jun 20th

joseph flynn

how about Liam vs Noel Gallagher

May 9th
Reply (2)


love their vast knowledge... I dont think they are douches

Apr 8th

Jonas Grumbie

great story, douche hosts.

Apr 3rd

Yasmine C

Remember when we all thought MJ was the normal one, and Prince was the weirdo? This was a fun episode.

Mar 24th
Reply (1)

Yasmine C

why anyone would fight over p.o.s John Mayer is completely beyond me.

Mar 11th
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