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
Slash vs. Axl Rose
Slash and Axl Rose Ke.Mazur/WireImage11/30

Slash vs. Axl Rose

While the pair had already begun butting heads over the musical direction of Guns N' Roses, the relationship was dealt a serious blow in 1991, when Slash contributed a guitar solo to Michael Jackson's "Black or White." According to former manager Doug Goldstein, Rose – who claims to have been molested by his father as a boy – believed the child-abuse accusations leveled against the King of Pop, and took his bandmate's collaboration as a betrayal. The singer got revenge that year when GN'R recorded a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" for the Interview With a Vampire soundtrack, replacing Slash's playing with that of Paul Huge.

The partnership was strained to the breaking point when Rose obtained legal ownership of the group's name, effectively demoting his bandmates to the level of hired hands. By 1996, Slash decided to part ways with Guns for good. Of course, there was acrimony. As the news broke, Rose sent a fax to MTV saying that he had fired the guitarist because he had lost his "dive in and find the monkey' attitude."

The pair wouldn't speak for decades, but they exchanged words in the press. Rose publically slammed Velvet Revolver, Slash's new project with Scott Weiland and fellow GN'R vets Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, and got even nastier in a 2009 interview with Spinner. "Personally I consider Slash a cancer and better removed, avoided – and the less anyone heard of him or his supporters, the better." The fact that Slash's mother had recently died after a breast-cancer battle gave the barb extra sting.

Over the years, Rose repeatedly made it clear that reconciliation with Slash was not in the realm of possibility, telling Billboard in 2009, "One of the two of us will die before a reunion and however sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is." He pointedly refused to attend Guns N' Roses' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2014. When asked why, Slash told Rolling Stone that the frontman "hates my guts."

But one of the most unlikely truces in rock was declared in 2016, when it was announced that Slash would rejoin Guns N' Roses to perform alongside Rose for a series of tour dates. "It was probably way overdue," Slash told Sweden's Aftonbladet television show as the news made headlines across the globe.

Back to Top