Diss tracks have a long history, from parodies to musical attacks. They rose to prominence in the '80s, beginning with "Have A Nice Day" by Roxanne Shante and following the rise of hip hop, and storied feuds between rappers like Jay-Z and Nas played out entirely in song. Of course, you could write an entire article of hip hop diss tracks alone (and naturally, people have-- see here and here), but there's also quite a few jabs that take place in other genres. We've covered music feuds and songs about other musicians, so why not combine the two? Read on for the best musical disses, insults, and put-downs ever recorded.
10. Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Sweet Home Alabama"
The Southern-fried rockers took offense at Neil Young's songs "Southern Man" and "Alabama," which describe slavery and racism in the South. In "Sweet Home Alabama," Ronnie Van Zant calls out Young, saying "Well I heard mister Young sing about her/Well, I heard ole Neil put her down/Well, I hope Neil Young will remember/A Southern man don't need him around anyhow." The rivalry didn't extend outside of song, however, with both artists professing admiration for each other and frequently wearing the other's band tee shirt on stage.
9. Peter, Paul and Mary, "I Dig Rock and Roll Music"
PPM take jabs at Donovan, The Beatles, and The Mamas and the Papas in this one. Folk trumps rock, yadda yadda.
8. Mott the Hoople, "All the Young Dudes"
Apparently David Bowie, who penned this song, didn't respect his pop forebears. "My brother's back at home/With his Beatles and his Stones./We never got it off on that revolution stuff/What a drag..."
7. The Meatmen, "One Down, Three to Go"
The Meatmen released this tune after the murder of John Lennon. Not everyone likes The Beatles, but come on, this seems especially harsh.
6. John Lennon, "How Do You Sleep?"
And now, for the man himself. This song and McCartney's "Too Many People" were musical barbs traded across the radio waves in the wake of the Beatles breakup.
5. The Clash, "Death or Glory"
"Every gimmick-hungry yob digging gold from rock 'n' roll/Grabs the mike to tell us he'll die before he's old" takes on The Who's classic "My Generation."
4. Pavement, "Range Life"
"Out on tour with The Smashing Pumpkins
Nature kids, they don't have no function
I don't understand what they mean
And I could really give a fuck."
Fair enough, Mr. Malkmus. (PS: Love the fashion in this video.)
3. The Foo Fighters, "Stacked Actors"
The line "You're just another aging drag queen" is widely considered to be about Courtney Love, but Grohl has never explicitly admitted as such, telling FHM Magazine: "Everyone thinks that. I think specifics are boring - it makes for a good line in a song. To me, it takes a stab at the majority of people who live in Hollywood."
2. Tori Amos, "Professional Widow"
Another dig at the former Mrs. Cobain (she's an unpopular lady): "Starf*****r just like my daddy." Plus, the title.
1. Eminem, "Without Me"
Marshall Mathers to Moby: "You don't know me, you're too old, let it go it's over, nobody listens to techno." And that's just the least-profane part.
Add your favorite musical diss in the comments!