On a previous list, we recounted the Super Bowl halftime shows from 1991 to 2004. We decided to make a list because the halftime show has established itself as a cultural barometer of who’s important in the music scene, allowing them to live out their craziest fantasies on stage. Through the years, we’ve seen Janet Jackson’s slip in 2004, Beyonce’s reunion with the rest of Destiny’s Child in 2013, and Left Shark during Katy Perry’s performance in 2015. But did you know that inviting famous pop stars to perform only started in 1991?
The halftime show has existed since the start of the Super Bowl in 1967, but the performers were usually marching bands from different universities. That changed in 1991, when the organizers invited New Kids on the Block to perform. Since then, it has evolved into the visual extravaganza that we know today.
Let’s continue the list from 2005 to today:
2005: Paul McCartney
A Beatle finally made it to the Super Bowl stage in 2005. Paul McCartney performed the Beatles songs “Drive My Car,” “Get Back,” and “Hey Jude,” and his original song “Live and Let Die.”
2006: The Rolling Stones
Super Bowl followed up the previous year’s performer with another legend: The Rolling Stones. The band performed on a stage shaped like the band’s logo of lips and a tongue, and with Mick Jagger and the rest of the Stones performing “Start Me Up,” “Rough Justice,” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Actual rain didn’t stop the “Purple Rain” singer from giving an electrifying performance in 2007. Prince performed on a stage in the shape of the “Artist Formerly Known As Prince” symbol, singing “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby I’m a Star,” “Proud Mary,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “Best of You,” and “Purple Rain.”
2008: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Super Bowl continued its legend streak by inviting Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to perform in 2008. The band sang their songs “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin'” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”
2009: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Bruce Springsteen closed the decade of legendary performers by performing “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “Born to Run,” “Working on a Dream,” and “Glory Days” with the E Street Band.
2010: The Who
Super Bowl welcomed the new decade with another legend, this time with The Who. The band performed their hits “Pinball Wizard,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Who Are You,” “See Me, Feel Me,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
2011: The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, and Slash
After consecutively inviting legends, Super Bowl decided to change tactics by getting The Black Eyed Peas and Usher (with rock legend Slash) to perform. The performance was a futuristic extravaganza, with Tron-like costumes, themes, and props. Usher still got it.
2012: Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green
After the King of Pop performed in 1993, the Queen of Pop had her turn 19 years later. Madonna did not disappoint: her performances had all the things that made her who she is, like dance moves, new arrangements of old songs (like the classic “Vogue”), and an elaborate set design.
2013: Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child
Only a performer like Beyonce can follow in Madonna’s footsteps. And she did not disappoint. Her performance was fun, energetic, and even featured a fun reunion with Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child. And oh, Beyonce only got female dancers. What a statement.
2014: Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers
2014’s Super Bowl halftime show was a funky affair with Bruno Mars, who sang his hit songs “Billionaire,” “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Treasure,” “Runaway Baby,” “Just the Way You Are,” and “Give it Away” (with Red Hot Chili Peppers).
2015: Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, and Missy Elliott
Katy Perry’s performance was iconic in many ways: her lion entrance, her “I Kissed a Girl” duet with Lenny Kravitz, Left Shark, and the return of Missy Elliott. The halftime show was fine, fresh, fierce, and Perry definitely had it on lock with her rendition of “Roar,” “Dark Horse,” “Teenage Dream,” “California Gurls,” and “Firework.”
2016: Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars
This was supposed to be Coldplay’s night, but Beyonce and Bruno Mars stole the show with their dance showdown. Coldplay still did an amazing job with “Yellow,” “Viva La Vida,” “Paradise,” “Adventure of a Lifetime,” “Clocks,” and “Fix You.”
2017: Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga stuns in the latest halftime show of the Super Bowl, producing a dazzling show with her classics, ranging from The Fame‘s “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” to Joanne‘s “Million Reasons.” The performance was quite the spectacle: she began her set singing on the top of the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas (which stands 79 meters, or the equivalent of 24 floors), then leapt off to land at the stage on the field.
Which one’s your favorite performance? Share your thoughts below!
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