Look Back In Anger – The Most Vicious Feuds In Music

Last week saw Round 177 in the eternal celeb death match; this time it was the turn of two longstanding well-respected indie bands to step up to each other and throw needless insults around.

The Flaming Lips‘ Wayne Coyne laid into Arcade Fire, calling them “pricks” and a band who don’t respect their audience or road crew. Win Butler retaliated by posting a response on the band’s website, saying: “I hope I was less of a ‘prick’ than telling Rolling Stone that a bunch of people I don’t know at all are really assholes.” (Coyne also incidentally recently admitted he doesn’t like Oasis, Arctic Monkeys or Razorlight).

Of course this was the most recent in a long line of tete-a-tetes stretching back as long as NME’s been around and the era of Stones v Beatles. Time, we think, to take a look at some of the best.

Spats and feuds come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the minor puff of discontent (see Lily Allen’s response to Katy Perry describing herself as “a skinnier version of Lily Allen”, which involved reportedly joining an anti-Katy Facebook site and threatening to post her phone number on the net).

Then you’ve got your full-on, call-the-police-we’re-gonna-sort-this-out-now mix of fisticuffs and courtroom action, as in the case of Kele Okereke vs The Sex Pistols at last year’s Summercase festival.

Then there’s the kings and queens of conflict, those at the top of the feudal system if you will.

Lily Allen, in fact, would be in with a good chance of taking the top spot, having taken the gloves off against everyone from Kate Moss to Radiohead to the New York Times while finding herself branded a “chick with a dick” by Gordon Ramsay and also Cheryl Cole – which led Beth Ditto to remark “fuck Girls Aloud, I’d rather be a chick with a dick than an asshole”.

Oh, and it got Kaiser Chiefs referring to Cheryl as a knobhead. These things do have a tendency to kick off into long chains of abuse, which is great for us as gossip-hungry observers baying for bad blood.

Lily’s response:


Noel Gallagher meanwhile, not a man renowned for his reticence, is the undisputed champion of the well-crafted put-down. Some choice cuts include:

“Jack White wrote a song for Coca-Cola. He’s meant to be the posterboy for the alternative way of thinking. And he looks like Zorro on doughnuts.”

“I don’t hate Kylie but I hate her music with a passion — it’s just unbridled filth, it’s disgusting.”

“Keane? Traditionally speaking, the three biggest twats in any band are the singer, the keyboardist and the drummer. I don’t need to say anything else.”

“Thom Yorke sat a piano singing, ‘This is fucked up’ for half-an-hour. We all know that, Mr Yorke. Who wants to sing the news? No matter how much you sit there twiddling, going, ‘We’re all doomed,’ at the end of the day people will always want to hear you play ‘Creep’. Get over it.”

“I read a quote from Fat Rick out of Kaiser Chiefs saying, ‘Oasis have disappeared up their own arses, they think they’re Led Zeppelin’. Well, better than everyone else knowing that you’re Freddie And The Dreamers, I guess.”

And he’s not afraid to sink to the depths of a shit diss, labelling Scouting For Girls quite accurately “Scouting For Idiots”. The band, displaying true relatively-anonymous reverence, were apparently honoured.

So let’s take a quick look back at the best bust-ups over history:

There was Blur vs Oasis, Pete Doherty calling Johnny Borrell “a poisonous snake” and Johnny Borrell likening The Kooks to Avril Lavigne, with Luke Pritchard reciprocating by dedicating ‘Naive’ to Razorlight.

There was Brandon Flowers vs The Bravery, Fall Out Boy, and Panic At The Disco – all of which he pathetically bowed out of in a fit of humble apologies. We love you Brandon, but you can’t back out quietly from these things. We had The Young Knives vs ex-NME Radar Editor Alex Miller (which started with a poor album review and ended with their manager breaking his finger).

And who could forget:
Eminem vs Moby
Fiddy vs Kanye
Blur vs Mogwai (Blur: Are Shite all over again…)
Eminem vs Insane Clown Posse

And of course the feud to end them all: Biggie vs Tupac