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

Load Previous
Ray Davies vs. Dave Davies
30
Ray Davies and Dave Davies of The Kinks perform on stage at the Rainbow Theatre, London on March 24 1977 Gus Stewart/Redferns5/30

Ray Davies vs. Dave Davies

Before the Gallagher brothers, the world had the Davies as their prototypical Britpop sibling rivalry. "We were battlers," reflected Ray. "But the very thing that makes a band special is what ultimately causes it to break up." According to Dave, their differences stem from childhood. "I think Ray has been happy for only three years in his life. And those were the three years before I was born."

One incident seems indicative of things to come. The boys had staged a mock boxing match, but the roughhousing turned serious when Ray collapsed in a heap after hitting his head on the side of the family's piano. Dave bent down in concern to ask if Ray was ok; Ray immediately opened his eyes and socked him in the face. "It's symbolic of our whole relationship, really," Dave reflected.

Once the two were bandmates, the fighting would take place practically anywhere: onstage, in the studio, in the back of a limousine. Even on major family occasions, they found it hard to play nice. When Ray tapped Dave to act as best man at his 1964 wedding, the younger brother got extremely drunk and announced that he was "too pissed" to give the speech.

The Kinks performed together for the last time in 1996, shortly before Dave's ill-fated 50th birthday party. "Ray had the money and I didn't," he recalled, "So he offered to throw it for me. Just as I was about to cut the cake, Ray jumped on the table and made a speech about how wonderful he was. He then stamped on the cake." They would see very little of each other for many years.

Begrudging fraternal love united them in 2004 when Dave suffered a serious stroke. Ray invited Dave to stay at his home, but old jealousies returned. "I was ill in bed and could barely move, but he started saying: 'I'm sick, I'm sick!' He was screaming in pain from his stomach." A medical examination revealed nothing out of the ordinary. "He just wanted attention," opined Dave.

In 2013 they fought over the genesis of what might be the Kinks' greatest legacy: the fuzzed-out overdrive guitar distortion heard on their 1964 breakthrough hit, "You Really Got Me." Ray claims that he came up with the idea of slashing the speaker cone of Dave's guitar amplifier to achieve the effect, while the guitarist claims he developed the technique himself. Dave accused Ray of propagating the myth in his West End musical Sunny Afternoon, based on the songs of the Kinks. "My brother is lying," he wrote in a furious Facebook post. "I am just flabbergasted and shocked at the depth of his selfish desire to take credit for everything."

They were able to put their difference aside for long enough to appear together onstage in December 2015 to perform the song in question before an audience in London – their first live collaboration in nearly two decades.

Back to Top