Music is a powerful tool, a medium that can spawn love, compassion and empathy, just as easily as it can breed hate and contempt. Artists pride themselves not only on their ability to produce and sell hit records, but also their technical prowess, their popularity, and even their ability to get laid. This can lead to some major ego clashes, as some of the world’s finest musicians (and Nikki Minaj) become embroiled in feuds with their peers.
Sometimes, this can end with a polite ‘beef-squashing’, or simply devolves into childish insults. Other times, it can lead to extreme shows of violence; shootings, fist fights, and even stabbings. Hip-hop alone is notorious for its rich history of blood-feuds and coastal warfare, but the rest of the music industry isn’t as innocent as it may appear.
Whether they’re settled over the battlements of Twitter or on the streets of LA, some feuds go well beyond musical competition, and ultimately transform into something far more sinister...
Arguably one of the most notorious music feuds to erupt out of England, Oasis and Blur’s long-standing rivalry dominated the Britpop scene throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
After both groups scooped gongs at the 1995 NME Awards, their frontmen exchanged heated words backstage. Liam had jeered at Shed Seven and Elastica (whose singer was romantically involved with Blur’s Damon Albarn) during his acceptance speech, before being told to ‘Shut the f**k up’ by James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers. According to Steve Sutherland, NME’s then-editor, a particularly soused Graham Coxon (Blur’s lead guitarist) decided to wander over and kiss Liam Gallagher on the cheek, effectively awakening the beast.
Gallagher’s continued jabs at Blur wound up Albarn, and led to a lengthy game of one-upmanship between the two Britpop behemoths. Oasis and Blur would both opt to release their singles ‘Roll With It’ and ‘Country House’ on the 14th of August, 1995, with Blur beating their rivals to the number one spot.
The whole nasty affair was spun as a class war, as well as a battle between ‘tough northerners’ (Oasis) and ‘soft southerners’, despite Albarn actually being an army child from a working class background. Although their feud eventually dissipated, lines between Oasis and Blur are still drawn between music fans to this day.
Both bands would eventually split and form other projects, to varying degrees of success. The Gallagher would go on to have a very public feud with each other, as well as brief run in with comedian Peter Kay, who referred to Liam as a ‘k**b head’ at the 2010 Brit Awards.