As Super Bowl LIII looms, it’s hard not to think about all the ridiculous, fun, poignant and down right entertaining halftime shows that have happened over the years.
With the monumental event just days away, one that will feature Maroon 5 (really, NFL? Maroon 5?), we wanted to reflect on some of the most iconic Super Bowl halftime performances, which has only been a concept since the ’90s, started featuring high-caliber pop and rock acts. Journey with us as we go back in history to look at five landmark performances the Super Bowl has ever hosted.
Michael Jackson – 1993
Super Bowl XXVII OK, so, a quick reminder on who Michael Jackson is in this era. The King of Pop was halfway through the Dangerous World Tour and had just done his first interview in 14 years, with Oprah nonetheless. There's a mystique around the singer that's unlike any celebrity. Case in point: when Jackson hit the stage, the legendary pop star stood still for nearly two minutes as fans screamed in anticipation. A power move if there ever was one. Rolling Stone calculated that it would be the equivalent of $1.5 million in air time.
U2 – 2002
Super Bowl XXXVI
Finishing the Elevation Tour in support of their 2000 album All That You Can’t Leave Behind, U2 put on a emotional post-9/11 performance. After playing a version of "Beautiful Day," the band played "MLK" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" as a sheet behind the band showed the names of the victims in the September 11 attacks. Before the show ended, Bono opened his jacket to reveal an American Flag pattern sewn into the lining.
Prince – 2007
Super Bowl XLI
A few months before the release of his thirty-second studio album, the artist took to the Dolphin Stadium in Florida playing "Let's Go Crazy" and "Baby I'm a Star," covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary," Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower", and Foo Fighters' "Best of You.” Finally as lights turned purple and rain continued to pour down, the legendary performer launched into his signature song “Purple Rain.”
Beyoncé / Destiny’s Child - 2013
Super Bowl XLVII
With a number of solo records and headlining world tours under her belt, by 2013 Beyoncé had already solidified her spot amongst the greats in the pop and R&B world. At that year’s halftime show, the Houston-born singer brought out her former group Destiny’s Child to perform alongside her for a few songs. From the sheer athleticism it took to dance and sing to her high-energy music, combined with a catalog that stretched across thirteen years, Beyoncé’s halftime performance felt like a statement from Queen Bey herself, like “Yes bitch, I’m here to stay.” As if we had any doubt.
Lady Gaga – 2017
Super Bowl LI
It’s not everyday a pop star jumps down down into an arena from the very top. But that’s what Lady Gaga did back in Houston in 2017 for one of the most mesmerizing halftime shows in history. The singer literally flipped and twirled all across the stadium from wires, all while singing her hard-hitting pop songs. With Donald Trump just becoming president, Lady Gaga’s presence, at what is arguably the most viewed American event on television, almost felt like a rainbow peaking out after a dark storm.
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