Top Ten Diss-Tracks In Rock

By Brent Chittenden

Diss-tracks are pretty standard in the world of hip hop. It seems like every other week  Rapper A has a beef with Rapper B and puts out a single telling the world why Rapper B isn’t as good as Rapper A (I’m avoiding names so I won’t get drawn into any conflicts between rappers). But in the world of rock it seems less prevalent. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Musicians take pot shots at each other all the time and here are some of my favourites.

10) Jay Z – Wonderwall

Now, this really shouldn’t be on the list since it’s not really a dis-track and Jay Z isn’t really a rocker but just due to the sheer balls involved, I had to put it on the list. Jay Z was scheduled to perform the 2008 version of Glastonbury, a music festival traditional geared towards rock music.  Noel Gallagher came out in the press and said Jay Z was to blame for slow ticket sales and that hip hop did not belong as a festival headliner. Jay Z shot back by performing Wonderwall as his opening song.

9) Guns N Roses – Double Talkin Jive

While not an Axl song and not specifically a diss track to begin with, Axl then turned into a weapon against whoever he was mad at, at the time. For a good period of time, that was Lars from Metallica and Warren Beatty.

8) The Sex Pistols – New York

While the actual cause isn’t incredibly clear, “New York” makes it clear that for some reason, The Pistols took aim at The New York Dolls in a song filled with venom.

7) John Lennon – How Do You Sleep?

Taken from Lennon’s album Imagine, it takes a lot of shots at Paul McCartney apparently in response to shots McCartney took at Lennon in “Too Many People”. Lennon’s digs may have went a little far, Ringo apparently visited during the recording session telling Lennon “That’s enough, John.”

6) Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

The single that helped launch one of the biggest albums is Lindsey Buckingham’s shot at his then girlfriend, Stevie Nicks. “Packing Up. Shacking up is all you wanna do.” Ouch.

5) Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know

Alanis Morissette took a no hold barred position against her former lover for four minutes. It’s pretty a pretty brutal post break-up song. The man being dissed? Probably Dave Coulier from Full House.

4) Lynard Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama

Neil Young makes some pointed comments about the South in “Southern Man”. Skynyrd fired back letting Young know that they didn’t need him anyhow.

3) Foo Fighters – I’ll Stick Around

Courtney Love does not like Dave Grohl and the feeling is pretty mutual except Dave usually doesn’t talk about her. But everyone has a breaking point and Grohl had apparently reached his when he wrote “I’ll Stick Around”. The chorus pretty much says it all. “I don’t owe you anything.”

2) Morrissey – Margaret on the Guillotine

Morrisey hated Margaret Thatcher. A lot.

1) Carly Simon _ You’re So Vain

The ultimate dis-track. Very pointed, very angry and written so the person who it’s about would most certainly know it’s about them but who that person is… well that’s one of the great mysteries of rock.


 Is there a diss track we should know about? If you’ve got a good one, please leave it in the comments below!


Brent Chittenden

Brent Chittenden is a freelance writer with a gift for the geek. Currently a writer with A Journal Of Musical Things and a podcaster with True North Nerds, he's also written for Comic Book Daily, Explore Music and a dozen other places. Currently, he is the co-host of the True North Nerds podcast. You can find out more at

2 thoughts on “Top Ten Diss-Tracks In Rock

  • November 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    You Think You're a Man by Divine. Not sure whom (if anyone) it was directed at, but back in the eighties it was a great song to dedicate to an ex-boyfriend…

  • November 2, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Ice Cube's "No Vaseline", he makes no bones about his dislike of NWA and Easy-E after the split !


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