The history of the Super Bowl Half-Time Show

A look at some of the best performances of the Super Bowl half-time show.

Alycia Knorr, Student Writer

UNITED STATES – As it comes time again for the big day in the NFL, many are excited to see who the next Super Bowl Champs will be. Many will gather with friends and family to watch their favorite teams play, eat some food, and watch the amazing commercials. But others tune in to watch The Half-Time Show. Over the past 55 Super Bowls, not including this year, we have seen many different artists hit the stage. Now we will take a look back at the history and performances at The Super Bowl. 

January 15th, 1967 – the first Super Bowl and the day that would change American Football forever – and the day that would define music and many half-time shows to come. From 1967 to 1990, the Super Bowl Half-Time show was headlined by university marching bands. The Grambling State University Marching Band performed the most at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show. They have made six appearances in 30 years. They have been included at least once per decade from the 1960s to the 1990s. In 1991, New Kids on the Block hit the stage. Little did they know that they would change half-time shows for generations to come. Since 2013, Pepsi has been the official sponsor of the half-time show. 

January 27th, 1991 was the first Super Bowl Half-Time Show to feature artists. Mickey Mouse and other beloved Disney characters flooded the field. Then, out of nowhere, New Kids on the Block hit the stage. They sang “Step by Step” and “This One’s For The Children.” After they finished “This One’s For The Children,” “It’s a Small World After All” began to play to wrap up Super Bowl XXV’s Half-Time Show. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO2sbPXOxEM

On January 31st, 1993, one of the biggest names in music history took the stage, Michael Jackson. With many calling it the first “cool” Half-Time show, Jackson redefined what would be the Super Bowl Half-Time Show. In one electrifying start, two body doubles catapulted onto two broadcasting boards in the stadium. Then Jackson catapulted through the middle of the stage with fireworks going off in the background. With a groundbreaking set list of many popular Michael Jackson songs, many couldn’t help but be excited for what they saw. Nobody expected much from half-time shows until Michael Jackson. With songs like “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” and “We are the World,” the show didn’t disappoint. Towards the end of Michael’s performance, the crowd came together to make the outline of children. It was a beautiful sight to see everyone come together to support the artist that was performing. Many will say that Super Bowl XXVII’s half-time show was the show that reinvented what half-time shows would be in the future. 

On January 28th, 1996, Super Bowl XXX took place, and Diana Ross rocked the Super Bowl Half-Time Show. Ross’s show was comprised of “Stop In The Name Name Of Love,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Baby Love,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” “Chain Reaction,” “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “I Will Survive,” and “Take Me Higher.” After finishing “Take Me Higher,” Ross had a helicopter come in to carry her off the field. 

https://ultimateprince.com/prince-super-bowl-halftime-saved/

On February 4th, 2007, Prince took the stage. Once “Dearly Beloved” began to play, everyone knew what they were in for. With an electrifying performance of “Let’s Go Crazy,” fans knew that this was going to be one of the best shows yet. After the last “Oh No Let’s Go,” the camera panned to The Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band flooding the field to play with Prince. The stage lit up red, and Prince started to sing “Baby I’m a Star.” With a sudden change in lyrics, Prince gradually changed the song to “Proud Mary” with Florida A&M playing along. While performing “Proud Mary,” fireworks exploded throughout the stadium. After “Proud Mary,” Prince sang “Best of You,” and erupted in a guitar solo that will undoubtedly be remembered forever. Next, Prince was handed a purple guitar in the shape of his iconic love symbol. The stage lit up purple and fans knew what was coming. With rain falling, Prince sang “Purple Rain.” Many will say it is a moment they will never forget. 

https://www.scotsman.com/whats-on/arts-and-entertainment/super-bowl-halftime-show-most-memorable-performances-nfl-super-bowl-sunday-michael-jackson-beyonce-3124567

On February 3rd, 2013, the queen herself, Beyoncé, hit the stage in one powerful performance. Many would call Beyoncé one of the most influential female artists of all time and this performance proved they were right. With Vince Lombardi’s “Excellence” speech playing, the stage erupted in fire. Beyoncé gave a powerful strut to the front of the stage while the music to “Crazy in Love” started to play. Beyoncé then broke into “Crazy in Love,” “End of Time,” and “Baby Boy” among other classics. Suddenly, another member of Destiny’s Child appeared and the group is reunited once again to perform “Bootylicious” and “Independent Women Part I.” After their star-studded reunion, Beyoncé performed “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” with her fellow Destiny’s Child members backing her up. “Halo” wrapped up the performance. 

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/lady-gagas-all-american-super-bowl-halftime-show

On February 5th, 2017, Lady Gaga took the stage. Gaga began her performance standing on top of the stadium singing “God Bless America”/ “This Land Is Your Land.” Next, Gaga sang “Poker Face.” “Born This Way” followed as dancers surrounded Gaga. The next song was “Telephone” and Gaga entered a star-shaped structure holding a fake telephone up to her ear. Gaga next appeared with a gold jacket and a keytar in hand playing the intro to “Just Dance.” Then Gaga sat at the piano and played “Million Reasons” amongst the crowd and fans. This moment is one of the more powerful and emotional moments to come from a Super Bowl Half-Time Show, especially when Gaga said hi to her mom and dad during the heartfelt performance. “Bad Romance” ended Gaga’s performance as she donned a whole new outfit resembling a football player and uttered, “The Super Bowl is what champions are made of!!” 

https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/tv/a35444822/the-weeknd-stadium-crowd-superbowl-performance/

On February 7th, 2021, The Weeknd took to the stage singing “Call Out My Name” followed by  “Starboy.” Then, lights began to flash and the well-known beginning of “The Hills” started to play while a choir raised their arms to the sky and danced behind The Weeknd. He then stole the camera and sang directly to the audience. Next, “I Feel It Coming,” “Save Your Tears,” and “Earned It” was performed.  The performance came to a close with “House of Balloons” and “Blinding Lights.” The Weeknd performed an unforgettable half-time show with a spectacular light display. It was another performance that would not be soon forgotten. 

 

With this year’s Super Bowl, many are excited to see who will win the game, but many others are excited about the half-time performance. With big names like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar all hitting the field, we are expecting a huge performance from these talented artists. Tune in Sunday, February 13th at 6:30 P.M. to see what happens. 

https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/pepsi-super-bowl-halftime-show-commercials-1235158177/