May 19, 2005
When the entourages of rappers 50 Cent and The Game traded bullets in front of a New York City radio station a few months ago, it was just the latest shot fired in the world of music business feuds.
Most of these beefs haven't involved gunfire, but all have been entertaining and kept astute readers of popular culture chuckling and marveling at the pettiness of the multimillionaires as they trade acidic barbs in the press — and occasionally lead on the streets of America's cities.
Guns certainly add an interesting element to a feud, and have resulted in the deaths of some big names — Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. being the most famous — but these instances have been rare. Very few beefs even result in the slightest exchange of fists.
Some feuds have been serious, some silly and some pretty funny. For those keeping tabs, here’s the scorecard.
EMINEM VS. WEIRD AL YANKOVIC
A song parody by brilliant Al Yankovic, who has sent up everyone from Madonna to Michael Jackson, usually means the original artist has hit the big time. Even Nirvana's artistically finicky Kurt Cobain gave Yankovic permission to skewer his band's hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
But when Weird Al tried to do a video parody of Eminem's “Lose Yourself” a couple of years ago, the rapper, who has unmercifully spoofed Osama bin Laden and Britney Spears, among others, in his own videos, refused permission on the grounds that it would somehow damage his image.
Weird Al proceeded to do his hilarious Eminem spoof live, and the
rapper's street cred has managed to hold up.
TOBY KEITH VS. NATALIE MAINES
This feud got started when the anti-war Maines, lead singer of The Dixie Chicks, told a newspaper that she thought Keith's “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” was “ignorant.”
Keith responded with some likewise unkind words for Maines, who then fired the biggest shot in the skirmish by wearing a shirt emblazoned with “F.U.T.K” during a performance at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Keith responded by calling Maines “a miserable person.”
Just when things were getting good, Keith pulled the plug on the feud after deciding that, in the grand scheme of things, Maines just wasn't worth it.
DAVID LEE ROTH VS. SAMMY HAGAR
These two titans of ego, both ex-lead singers for hard rockers Van Halen, had already seen Van Halen fans feud over which version of the group was better — the early one with the lion-maned Roth, or the later version with tequila pimp Hagar.
In 2002, the two decided to put it in the hands of the fans and launched a tour with each singer taking turns as headliner. Diamond Dave played 90 percent early Van Halen tunes, while Hagar mixed in stuff from his successful solo careers both before and after he was in Van Halen.
The two jibed at each other onstage during their respective sets but never came to blows. For the record, Van Halen was better with David Lee Roth.
HILARY DUFF VS. LINDSAY LOHAN
These two teen queens, who both have dual acting and singing careers, got into a tiff when Duff allegedly swiped Lohan's then-boyfriend, teen dream singer Aaron Carter.
Things came to a head when Duff's people reportedly tried to throw Lohan out of Duff's “Cheaper by the Dozen” movie premiere, even though Lohan was reportedly invited.
The feud continued to fester — Duff's song “Haters” takes a shot at Lohan — until Duff and Carter split up and Lohan took up with actor Wilmer Valderrama, then Bruce Willis, then ... oh, whatever.
BRITNEY SPEARS VS. CHRISTINA AGUILERA
These two pop princesses became friends on ‘‘The Mickey Mouse Club,’’ but as their stars rose as teen singers — and they began competing for the money of pimply teenagers everywhere — their friendship deteriorated.
In an interview given after Spears married former dancer Kevin Federline (who left his pregnant girlfriend and the mother of his young child to take up with the pop diva), Aguilera called Spears “trailer trash” and referred to the whole thing as “low-rent” and “somewhat pathetic.”
Spears took the high road. In an entry posted on her Web site, she said that she would like to be friends with Aguilera again and has remained mum on Aguilera's engagement to record exec Jordan Bratman.
ELTON JOHN VS. MADONNA
Rock's premier male rock diva went after Madonna recently, accusing the Material Girl of lip-syncing her concerts after Madonna was nominated for a “best live act” award at a music awards show for the British publication Q.
John railed that anybody who charges fans 75 pounds to watch a lip-sync performance “should be shot,” then added that he was probably off Madonna's Christmas card list and couldn’t care less.
Madonna denied John's charges and called the whole thing a “fictional feud,” telling “The Insider” host Pat O'Brien that if “I start getting mad at people who criticize or poke at me, I'd be permanently mad.”
JACK WHITE VS. JASON STOLLSTEIMER
Hardly anybody outside Detroit had ever heard of Stollsteimer's band, Von Bondies, until the White Stripes honcho and former friend, a fellow Detroiter who had produced a Von Bondies record, punched Stollsteimer in the eye.
White claimed that Stollsteimer had become “bitter” and “mean-spirited” after White's band exploded nationally. Stollsteimer began ripping White's production of his band's record, and White apparently didn't take kindly to Stollsteimer's criticisms.
When the two frontmen came to blows in a Detroit club, the end results were an eye swollen shut for Stollsteimer and anger management classes for White.
COURTNEY LOVE VS. HERSELF
She brawled with folk singer Mary Lou Lord after Lord wrote a song about her brief fling with Kurt Cobain, which happened long before Love married the Nirvana frontman.
She has battled Cobain's former band mates over the rights to release long-lost Nirvana tunes, and she has feuded with her record label.
Love was busted for breaking windows at a former boyfriend’s Los Angeles pad, and she was charged with assault after bashing a woman with a flashlight and a whiskey bottle.
She was charged with disorderly conduct after whacking a fan with a mike stand, and she has battled the courts for custody of her daughter.
Courtney Love's main feud appears to be with gargoyle-sized inner demons.