A Storied Past: The Super Bowl Halftime Show

Are you looking forward to the Super Bowl Halftime show more than the actual game? You are not alone! Through ups and downs, the famous (and sometimes infamous) big show at the big game has become a cultural icon in its own right. While the halftime show is now known for its spectacle – from Lady Gaga jumping down to the field, to our favorite performer, Left Shark – it hasn’t always been this way.

What were the shows like before they became huge, televised events? They were made up of marching bands, alongside stars like The Three Stooges and Ella Fitzgerald. In those early days, the Super Bowl halftime was designed to entertain the audience in attendance, not those watching at home. The halftime show music featured university marching bands, instead of spotlighting popular music artists.

In 1980, the vocal troupe Up with People performed at the Super Bowl as the first popular group. They went on to perform at several games. By the late 80’s, the halftime show started to transform into what we know today – helped along by an Elvis Presley impersonator performing card tricks! Starting in ’91, pop music acts such as New Kids on the Block and Gloria Estefan became common. In 2017, the spectacular halftime show featuring six-time Grammy-winner Lady Gaga had more viewers than the game itself.

The Super Bowl itself is typically the most-watched event on television in the United States annually! Wondering whose performed throughout the years? Check out the run down below!


breakdown of Super Bowl Halftime Shows:

1960’s-70’s: Marching Bands, Classic Acts & Themes

1967: The Three Stooges, University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band & Grambling State University Marching Band, Al Hirt, Anaheim High School Drill Team and Flag Girls
1968: Grambling State University Marching Band
1969: “America Thanks” -Florida A&M University band and Miami area High School Bands
1970: Marguerite Piazza, Doc Severinsen, Al Hirt, Lionel Hampton Southern University Marching Band
1971: Southeast Missouri State Marching Band
1972: “Salute to Louis Armstrong” – Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt, USAFA Cadet Chorale, & U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team
1973: “Happiness Is.” – University of Michigan Marching Band & Woody Herman & Andy Williams
1974: “A Musical America” – University of Texas Longhorn Band and Judy Mallett (Miss Texas 1973) on fiddle
1975: “Tribute to Duke Ellington” – Mercer Ellington & Grambling State University Marching Bands
1976: “200 Years and Just a Baby” Tribute to America’s Bicentennial with Up with People
1977: “It’s a Small World” – Los Angeles Unified All-City Band including spectators waving colored placards on cue
1978: “From Paris to the Paris of America” – Tyler Apache Belles Drill Team, and Apache Band Pete Fountain & Al Hirt
1979: “Super Bowl XIII Carnival” Salute to Caribbean – Ken Hamilton, various Caribbean bands including Grammacks out of Dominica

1980’s-90’s: Performance Ensembles & Up with People

1980: “A Salute to the Big Band Era” – Up with People, Grambling State University Marching Bands
1981: “A Mardi Gras Festival” with Southern University Marching Band, Helen O’Connell
1982: “A Salute to the 60s and Motown” with Up with People
1983: “KaleidoSUPERscope” – Los Angeles Super Drill Team
1984: “Super Bowl XVIII’s Salute to the Superstars of the Silver Screen” – University of Florida and Florida State University Marching Bands
1985: “A World of Children’s Dreams” – Up with People
1986: “Beat of the Future” – Up with People
1987: “Salute to Hollywood’s 100th Anniversary” – George Burns, Mickey Rooney, Grambling State University and USC Marching Bands
1988: “Something Grand” featuring 88 grand pianos, the Rockettes and Chubby Checker
1989: “Be Bop Bamboozled” featuring 3-D effects with Elvis Presto, South Florida-area dancers
1990: “Salute to New Orleans” and 40th Anniversary of Peanuts’ characters, featuring trumpeter Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw & Irma Thomas
1991: “A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl” – New Kids on the Block
1992: “Winter Magic” including a salute to the winter Olympics featuring Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill
1993: “Heal the World” finale included audience card stunt.
1994: “Rockin’ Country Sunday” – Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Wynonna & Naomi Judd.
1995:Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye” – Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval, the Miami Sound Machine and stunts including fire and skydivers.
1996: Diana Ross celebrating 30 years of the Super Bowl with special effects, pyrotechnics and stadium card stunt.
1997: “Blues Brothers Bash” – Dan Akroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi (also featuring “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown and ZZ Top)
1998: “A Tribute to Motown’s 40th Anniversary” – Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Martha Reeves and The Temptations
1999: “Celebration of Soul, Salsa and Swing” – Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and tap dancer Savion Glover

2000’s-Today: Big Stars, Classic Rock & Halftime Show Sponsors

2000: “A Tapestry of Nations” – Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and an 80-person choir
2001: “The Kings of Rock and Pop” – Aerosmith, ‘N’Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly
2002: U2
2003: Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting
2004: Janet Jackson, Kid Rock, P. Diddy, Nelly and Justin Timberlake
2005: Paul McCartney
2006: The Rolling Stones
2007: Prince and the Florida A&M marching band
2008: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
2009: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
2010: The Who
2011: The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash
2012: Madonna
2013: Beyonce
2014: Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
2015: Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott
2016: Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars
2017: Lady Gaga
2018: Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids, University of Minnesota Marching Band
2019: Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Big Boi


If you want to experience the excitement of performing in a big halftime show, check out our Bowl game opportunities!

Article written by Allison Cassidy

Allison Cassidy
Allison has a passion for performance and travel. In her free time, she loves exploring new places and spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog.

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