Philly Sports Live

8 Most Memorable Super Bowl Half-Time Shows!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post as a part of a campaign I’m doing with Verizon FiOS in Philadelphia. #FiOSPhilly

The Super Bowl is America’s most watched and attended annual sports event featuring a national championship football match between two sides. Watching or attending the Super Bowl till halftime comes with a perk you see once in a year- a top show from a few select artistes across the music industry rendering rich melodies before the second half kick-off. So, before Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyonce and co. take the stage at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show with Verizon on February 7, we bring you the Top 8 performances in the history of the Super Bowl.

(8) Paul McCartney, 2005


The previous year’s (2004) “Nipplegate”, involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, left the NFL with no safer choice than Paul McCartney. What does it matter…when you got a job to do, you gotta do it well… Paul McCartney did justice to Nipplegate with an incredible performance transitioning from contemporary pop to older rock performance at the Super Bowl halftime show by performing “Drive My Car” and “Get Back” before making a decision to play the piano over his guitar while making an amazing rendition of “Live and Let Die” which left the crowd spellbound with loads of fireworks on every great beat and note. McCartney wrapped up the night by leaving the 84, 000 crowd with “Hey Jude”.

(7) Michael Jackson, 1993


In a bid to keep viewers stuck to their TV sets, the NFL strummed up the king of pop, Michael Jackson, to perform at the 1993 Super Bowl halftime show. MJ was no one to disappoint as he sent the crowd and viewers into a frenzy-filled moment with an assorted lip-synch of “Jam”, “Billie Jean” and “Black or White”. To show support and love to children of Los Angeles, he popped up a snippet of “We Are The World” while the crowd waved cards of drawings made by the children. MJ finished the performance with “Heal The World” while being encircled by about 3, 500 youths as a globe was positioned on the 50-yard line to preach harmony and peace.

(6) Beyoncé, 2013


After being lit by the fire as a silhouette, Bey made an entrance into the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show with hit her songs: “Love on Top” and “Crazy in Love” with so much multimedia indulgence of her look-alikes moving along with her on the stage. This was before the surprise appearance of Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams amidst a rumored Destiny’s Child reunion. The pair popped out of nowhere in a series of animations and stage illuminated fire flares to join Beyonce while she sang “Bootylicious,” “Independent Women”, and “Single Ladies” while being backed by scores of female dancers and band members.

(5) Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, 2009


Bruce Springsteen finally honored an invitation to perform at the Super Bowl after several invites to take the big stage. He must have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to fine tune his finesse and prove that the wait was well worth it. He made an introduction by telling viewers to keep a distance from the guar and “put the chicken fingers down” for an amazing Tampa rock for the next twelve minutes. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performance of four fan-favorite songs in a row purely electrified the crowd as Bruce energetically waltzed the guitar to the amazement of the crowds. The icing on the cake came when Bruce slammed his crotch into a TV camera while singing “10th Avenue Freeze Out”.

(4) Madonna, 2012


Who says Madonna is not a great choreographer? Ditch that opinion, Madonna got me and my friends stuck for an astonishing 12 minutes. Madonna started the performance as a Queen with a medieval-gladiatorial entrance to captaining a high school cheerleading team including Nicki Minaj, MIA, LMFAO, and Cee Lo Green. Using high versed lyrics from long time favorite “Vogue”, “Party Rock Anthem”, “Sexy And I Know It” to her 2000 hit “Music” and finally Nicki Minaj’s “Gimme Your Luvin”. The group performed excellently in their epic 12 minutes display which climaxed with Madge’s “Like A Prayer” after a brief drum session.

(3) Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake, 2004


For every ridiculous mistake, there is always an excuse. That was what happened exactly the day the term “wardrobe malfunction” entered American vocabulary. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performance awed the crowd and viewers of the NFL Super Bowl halftime show. The sour point of the beautiful performance was the last two seconds of the performance when Justin tried to demonstrate the closing lyrics of the song by accidentally pulling off the lace covering Janet Jackson’s breast in what he thought was supposed to be a innocent move. This incident left the entertainment industry surprised and divided with several opinions amidst FCC fines and court actions over censorship of suggestive indecency in the industry. As sad and overblown as it was, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s performance was superb and entertaining; too bad it got overshadowed by a two seconds wardrobe malfunction.

(2) Prince, 2007


Barely three years after the controversial Nipplegate event, NFL made a very unlikely and unexpected choice by picking Prince to perform at the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show. Prince was well known for his erotic turbo-charged feats, but the NFL must have been convinced that their new censorship abilities will keep all suggestions of indecency under check. Prince went on to give one of the greatest performance of the night as the genius played his instrument in a unique and bizarre way charging through his classics “1999” and “Let’s Go Crazy” as well as superb classics of other people- “Proud Mary” and “All Along The Watchtower”.

Prince’s performance was topped with a coda of “Purple Rain” which wowed the whole stadium and got diehard football fans hollering in tandem while waving their arms.

(1) U2, 2002


Barely five months after the 9/11 tragedy, U2’s Super Bowl rendition of their “Where the Streets Have No Name” absolutely mesmerized us and aroused the sad memories of the 9/11 event. Tears streamed down my eyes for a larger part of the performance after U2 had earlier kicked off with “Beautiful Day” before the tribute with names of the victims on a scrolling against the stage’s backdrop. What a way to remember and show love to American heroes and their families! Superb performance from U2, as Bono finished it off by showing the stars and stripes lining the inner part of his jacket.