Music's 30 Fiercest Feuds and Beefs

From classic-rock squabbles to hip-hop diss tracks and social media wars, here are the ridiculous, rancorous conflicts that have held us rapt

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Madonna vs. Elton John
Madonna and Elton John Frank Micelotta, Ethan Miller/Getty21/30

Madonna vs. Elton John

The feud began in 2002, when Sir Elton slammed the Queen of Pop's title song for the 007 film Die Another Day, declaring it "the worst Bond theme ever." But that was mild compared to the verbal roundhouse kick he unleashed at England's Q Awards in October 2004. While accepting a songwriting honor, he took offense to the fact that Madonna's name was included in the "Best Live Act" nominations. "Madonna, Best Live Act? Fuck off. Since when has lip-syncing been live? Sorry about that, but I think everyone who lip-syncs on stage in public when you pay like 75 quid to see them should be shot. Thank you very much. That's me off her Christmas card list, but do I give a toss? No." He was partially right; the following year he sent her two Christmas cards and both were apparently returned.

His husband David Furnish also got in on the Madge bashing in 2012, after she beat John out for Best Original Song at the Golden Globes that January. "Madonna winning Best Original Song truly shows how these awards have nothing to do with merit," he wrote in a private Facebook post that soon leaked.

He later deleted the message and apologized for his words, but Madonna seemed unbothered. "I hope [Elton] speaks to me for the next couple of years," she said in the post-Globes press conference. "He's known to get mad at me…He'll win another award. I don't feel bad."

She may have felt bad after John royally unloaded during an interview on Australian television that August. "Why is she such a nightmare?" he wondered aloud of his nemesis, then on her MDNA tour. "Sorry, her career is over. Her tour has been a disaster and it couldn't happen to a bigger cunt. If Madonna had any common sense, she would have made a record like Ray of Light,' stayed away from the dance stuff and just been a great pop singer and made great pop records, which she does brilliantly. But no…" he trailed off before serving the piece de resistance: "And she looks like a fucking fairground stripper."

Then a chance meeting at the end of 2012 apparently brought the whole ugly affair to an end. "I was in a restaurant in the south of France and she walked in so I sent her a note saying, 'You'll probably never speak to me again but I am really sorry and ashamed of myself and can I buy you dinner,'" he recalled during an interview with Graham Norton. "She was very gracious and accepted and we talked. We are fine – it was just me and my big mouth."

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