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The List: Top 10 Super Bowl halftime shows
Madonna, who has sold more than 300 million records, will perform at halftime of the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil and Jamie King. The List looks at the top 10 Super Bowl halftime performances of the past.
- 10. The Rolling Stones, Super Bowl XL; New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29 (2006) — Using a five-second delay, ABC silenced Mick Jagger’s microphone for a number of suggestive lyrics in two of the band’s three-song set, which included “Start Me Up,” “Rough Justice” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The 62-year-old frontman looked fit, strutting and dancing across a stage designed as a replica of the band’s famed wagging-tongue logo before an audience of 90 million television viewers.
- 9. Up With People, Super Bowl XVI; San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21 (1982) — Before Janet Jackson’s X-rated indecent exposure, there was the musical performances of Up With People, who were as inoffensive as puppies eating ice cream and apple pie. This wholesome and upbeat group was best known for their musical performances consisting of hundreds of students. Actress Glenn Close was a former member. They performed at four Super Bowls. At the halftime show for Super Bowl in 1982 the group performed music from the 1960s with a cast of hundreds.
- 8. Motown review, Super Bowl XXXII; Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay 24 Packers (1998) — This celebration of the 40th anniversary of Motown music, with Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, The Temptations, Queen Latifah, Grambling State University Band, had the Qualcomm Stadium crowd of 68,912 in San Diego rocking and rolling. The Temptations dedicated the song “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” to the Four Tops who couldn’t attend, while Boyz II Men came up through a trapdoor in the stage floor.
- 7. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Super Bowl XLII; New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14 (2008) — At 57, Tom Petty looked a little weathered, and his performance seemed subdued compared to recent halftime shows, but the band put in a solid performance with the songs “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin’,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and “American Girl.” When the stadium lights dimmed for “Free Fallin’,” the crowd held up tiny flashlights that had been distributed previously.
- 6. Paul McCartney, Super Bowl XXXIX; New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21 (2005) — Determined to avoid controversy after Janet Jackson’s right breast was exposed in the previous MTV-produced halftime show, the NFL went safe with Paul McCartney, who stayed firmly within the bounds of good taste. Mr. McCartney played four songs, opening with “Drive My Car” and closing with “Hey Jude.” Fireworks exploded overhead accompanying “Live and Let Die.”
- 5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Super Bowl XLIII; Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23 (2009) — From the moment Mr. Springsteen and saxophonist Clarence Clemons appeared in silhouette, leaning on each other in the style of 1975’s iconic “Born to Run” cover, it was evident the band planned to hit well-rehearsed marks for its allotted 12 minutes. The set ended with the song “Glory Days.”
- 4. Diana Ross, Super Bowl XXX; Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17 (1996) — Diana Ross sang nearly a dozen of her hits in a performance that included four costume changes. She saved the best for last. As she wrapped up her show, the superstar was plucked up and away by a helicopter, which was pretty spectacular — and risky — to the strains of her hit “Take Me Higher.”
- 3. Michael Jackson, Super Bowl XXVII; Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17 (1993) — More than 103,000 fans were on hand at the Rose Bowl for Michael Jackson’s dazzling halftime extravaganza, which included a cast of more than 3,500 children. Jackson rocked the place, moonwalking through smoke and blazing pyrotechnics and belting out hits “Billie Jean” and “Black and White.” He closed by singing his new anthem, “Heal the World,” as a plastic globe inflated at center stage and a 750-member choir sang along.
- 2. Prince, Super Bowl XLI; Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17 (2007) — The reclusive and toned-down Prince put on a sensational show performing hits such as “Let’s Go Crazy,” “We Will Rock You,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and finishing — appropriately enough, as the rain intensified — with “Purple Rain.” Playing on an elaborate stage shaped like the symbol he used to use to refer to himself, he used four guitars and was accompanied by the Florida A&M marching band.
- 1. U2, Super Bowl XXXVI; New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17 (2002) — The band U2 delivered an emotional tribute to America and the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The glitz and special effects were limited as the Irish rockers opened with their hit “Beautiful Day.” As the first song wound down, a giant screen scrolled the names of victims in the attacks as Bono sang “Where the Streets Have No Name.” The crowd roared as Bono pulled back his jacket lapel to reveal an American flag.
Dishonorable mention:Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake and others — Super Bowl XXXVIII; New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29 (2004) — Sadly, the fine performances of Jessica Simpson, Nelly, P. Diddy and Kid Rock were overshadowed by the famous “wardrobe malfunction,” in which Justin Timberlake tore off part of fellow singer Janet Jackson’s costume, exposing her breast just as he was singing, “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song.” The incident, which was broadcast to millions of TV viewers worldwide, led to CBS — the broadcaster for that year — being fined $550,000 dollars.
Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: Associated Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, Sportsillustrated.cnn.com, askmen.com and The Washington Times.
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About the Author
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