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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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Roger Waters vs. David Gilmour
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Pink Floyd: David Gilmour, Roger Waters Ian Dickson/Redferns; Tony Mottram/Getty4/30

Roger Waters vs. David Gilmour

Pink Floyd were divided during sessions for The Wall in 1979, as Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright grew frustrated by Waters' unwillingness to compromise in the studio. "He forced his way to become that central figure," Gilmour told Rolling Stone in 1987. Waters, for his part, claimed he was pushed into the role of creative taskmaster due to the diminishing input of his (to his mind) less talented bandmates. "There was no point in Gilmour, Mason or Wright trying to write lyrics," he countered in Rolling Stone. "Because they'll never be as good as mine. Gilmour's lyrics are very third-rate."

The global success of The Wall only widened the divisions. On the accompanying tour, Waters stayed at separate hotels, and rarely spoke with his bandmates offstage. As work began on a follow-up, 1983's The Final Cut, a less-than-enthusiastic Gilmour feared that the album was padded with rejects from The Wall. The conflicts grew increasingly hostile, and Gilmour's name was ultimately removed from the album's production credits.

When Waters decided to pursue solo endeavors in December 1985, he attempted to dissolve Pink Floyd in his wake, labeling it "a spent force creatively." Gilmour disagreed, forging ahead with Wright and Mason to record a new album as Pink Floyd. An irate Waters took legal action to bar Gilmour and the rest of his former colleagues from using the band's name – and the famed inflatable pig mascot during live performances.

Gilmour won the court battle but the war waged in the court of public opinion. The remaining Floyd members characterized their former bassist as a vindictive egomaniac, while Waters portrayed his Gilmour and Co. as coasting on the back of his genius. When the scaled-down Floyd released A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987, Waters dismissed it as "a very facile but quite clever forgery."

Pink Floyd remained largely dormant following the release of 1994's The Division Bell, but tensions had eased enough by July 2005 for the band's classic lineup to reunite for a set at the Live 8 global charity event. The reconciliation would prove to be the last time the foursome would perform before Wright's death in 2008.

Waters surprised fans in 2011 by bringing out Gilmour and Mason for a guest appearance on "Comfortably Numb" during a performance at London's O2 arena, and by 2013 he even admitted that he regretted the lawsuit over the band's name. But when Gilmour and Mason polished off some old demos for release as a new Floyd album, The Endless River, in 2014, Waters declined to participate.

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