30 Delightfully Pissed Off ‘F— You’ Rock Songs
No insult cuts quite like a "fuck you."
Its meaning is unambiguous and universal, its impact blunt-force. That's why it's been the perfect tool for rockers since time immemorial.
Whether directly using the profanity or cloaking it in more sophisticated wordplay, these 30 rock and metal songs make their message abundantly clear. Their inspirations range from heartache to business falling-outs to simple disdain for another person. The results are all the same.
As Emperor Palpatine famously said, let the hate flow through you and scroll through this far-from-exhaustive list of "fuck-you" songs.
Aerosmith, "Sweet Emotion"
From: Toys in the Attic (1975)
Alanis Morissette, "You Oughta Know"
From: Jagged Little Pill (1995)
May God have mercy on the ex-boyfriend (long presumed but never confirmed to be Full House's Dave Coulier) who inspired the scorched-earth lead single off Alanis Morissette's diamond-selling Jagged Little Pill. You'll never see Uncle Joey the same way again.
Billy Joel, "Laura"
From: The Nylon Curtain (1982)
Billy Joel has written plenty of songs about his romantic hang-ups. On "Laura," he supposedly went straight to the source by detailing his dysfunctional relationship with his mother, Rosalind.
Bob Dylan, "Positively 4th Street"
From: Single (1965)
Suspected to be Dylan's reaction to being booed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, "Positively 4th Street" is six consecutive verses of bitter disappointment and righteous rage.
Carly Simon, "You're So Vain"
From: No Secrets (1972)
Carly Simon inspired one of music's most heated debates with this enigmatic kiss-off song. The fact that so many ex-lovers were quick to take credit for it is proof of its vicious potency.
Dead Kennedys, "Nazi Punks Fuck Off"
From: In God We Trust, Inc. (1981)
Dead Kennedys were sick of seeing neo-Nazi punks and posers at their shows. The rest is self-explanatory.
Don Henley, "Dirty Laundry"
From: I Can't Stand Still (1982)
Police arrested Don Henley in 1980 for drug possession and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after they found a 16-year-old prostitute suffering from the aftereffects of cocaine and Quaaludes at his house. Furious that his actions had consequences, Henley expressed his contempt for the media in this scathing Top 5 hit.
Eagles, "The Long Run"
From: The Long Run (1979)
As disco and punk exploded in the late '70s, the press pegged Eagles as dead in the water. They spun those jabs into the title track of The Long Run, asking, "Who is gonna make it? We'll find out in the long run." They broke up less than a year later.
Fear, "I Don't Care About You"
From: The Record (1982)
Fear's Lee Ving is a punk-rock street poet, documenting several examples of life in the gutter on this blistering hardcore anthem. Instead of inspiring empathy, though, these observations only reinforced his misanthropy.
Fleetwood Mac, "Go Your Own Way"
From: Rumours (1977)
Devastated by his breakup with bandmate Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham wrote this bitter Top 10 hit, then forced his ex to sing it onstage with him every night — ugly "Packing up, shacking up's all you wanna do" lyric and all.
Green Day, "Platypus (I Hate You)"
From: Nimrod (1997)
When Green Day signed to a major label, 924 Gilman Street founder Tim Yohannan banned them from the DIY venue and trashed them in his Maximum Rocknroll zine. When Yohannan got sick with lymphatic cancer, Billie Joe Armstrong delighted in his misfortune on this furious Nimrod track.
Guns N' Roses, "Get in the Ring"
From: Use Your Illusion II (1991)
Critics rightly bashed Guns N' Roses for their unprofessionalism and draconian media policies in the early '90s. Axl Rose, in turn, singled them out by name on "Get in the Ring" and graciously invited Spin founder Bob Guccione Jr. to "suck my fucking dick."
Harry Nilsson, "You're Breakin' My Heart"
From: Son of Schmilsson (1972)
This power-pop gem is so relentlessly catchy that it's almost easy to miss the naked fury in the opening lyrics: "You're breakin' my heart / You're tearing it apart / So fuck you."
From: Little Queen (1977)
Ann Wilson wrote "Barracuda" to air her grievances toward Heart's former label Mushroom Records, which concocted a heinous rumor that the singer was in an incestuous relationship with her singer and bandmate Nancy to drum up publicity. It became a Top 20 hit and one of their signature songs, proof that success is the best revenge.
John Fogerty, "Zanz Kant Danz"
From: Centerfield (1985)
John Fogerty's first album in a decade, 1985's Centerfield, featured this thinly veiled barb against Fantasy Records owner and former Creedence Clearwater Revival manager Saul Zaentz, with whom he'd been locked in a protracted legal battle. Future releases of the album changed the song title to "Vanz Kant Danz" in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a defamation lawsuit.
John Lennon, "How Do You Sleep?"
From: Imagine (1971)
The Beatles' breakup sparked a legendary feud between Paul McCartney and John Lennon. McCartney launched the first volley with Ram's "Too Many People," to which Lennon responded with "How Do You Sleep?", criticizing McCartney for his false modesty and keeping company with sycophants.
Joni Mitchell, "That Song About the Midway"
From: Clouds (1969)
Joni Mitchell wields the pen like a knife, so her ex-boyfriend David Crosby must have been quaking in his boots when she played him this song about his multiple infidelities.
Judas Priest, "You've Got Another Thing Comin'"
From: Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
Judas Priest staked their claim as die-hard disciples of heavy metal from day one, and on this signature song, they made it clear they weren't going to sit around and let life pass them by just because others didn't approve.
Metallica, "Dyers Eve"
From: ... And Justice for All (1988)
Metallica's knottiest album ends with the thrashiest track they ever made — a furious screed from James Hetfield against his Christian Scientist parents, whom he felt sheltered him as a child and left him ill-equipped to deal with the real world.
Motley Crue, "Knock 'Em Dead Kid"
From: Shout at the Devil (1983)
After getting arrested during a brawl with bikers and undercover cops and spending two nights in jail, Nikki Sixx walked home just in time to get ready for a Motley Crue gig at the Whisky and wrote this bloodstained fight anthem.
Motorhead, "Go to Hell"
From: Iron Fist (1982)
Hell hath no fury like a Lemmy Kilmister jilted by a fickle woman. At least the frontman was diplomatic enough to admit "you're a fair screw."
From: Single (1978)
"I can't believe what you say to me, you've got some attitude," Glenn Danzig sneers on this Misfits classic. Some listeners probably felt the same way when they heard his ultra-crude lyrics and threats of violence.
Nirvana, "In Bloom"
From: Nevermind (1991)
Kurt Cobain had lifelong disdain for jocks, bullies and hangers-on. The irony is they all sang along in blissful ignorance to this Nevermind single aimed at them.
Lennon had plenty of grievances with McCartney, but McCartney also resented Lennon for initiating the Beatles' breakup and (in his view) forcing his ideologies down listeners' throats.
Pantera, "Fucking Hostile"
From: Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
Phil Anselmo is an equal-opportunity hater on this brutal Pantera track, taking aim at corrupt institutions, hypocritical moralists, do-nothing cops and anybody and anything else within spitting distance.
Pink Floyd, "Have a Cigar"
From: Wish You Were Here (1975)
Pink Floyd was on top of the world by 1975 — and all too familiar with bloodsucking music industry execs who would sooner suck them dry than give them a moment's rest. They channeled those frustrations into the scathing, darkly satirical "Have a Cigar."
Rage Against the Machine, "Killing in the Name"
From: Rage Against the Machine (1992)
Written in the wake of the Rodney King riots, "Killing in the Name" explicitly equates the police to the Ku Klux Klan. Any lingering doubt about Rage Against the Machine's politics should disappear by the larynx-shredding "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" refrain.
Queen, "Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to ...)"
From: A Night at the Opera (1975)
Queen had become bonafide hitmakers by 1975, yet they had no money to show for it. Freddie Mercury placed the blame squarely on original manager and Trident Studios owner Norman Sheffield on "Death on Two Legs," which shocked even his bandmates with its viciousness.
Skid Row, "Get the Fuck Out"
From: Slave to the Grind (1991)
Nobody would accuse a young Skid Row of being feminists after hearing this filthy, groupie-bashing Slave to the Grind track. Sebastian Bach thankfully refused to sing the original lyrics on the album's 30th-anniversary tour.
Steely Dan, "Show Biz Kids"
From: Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)
Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers, and their contempt for nepo-baby Angelenos is palpable on this slinky rocker, which features delicious slide guitar from Rick Derringer.
Why These Classic Rock Acts Hate Their Own Records
Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso