Steve Granitz/WireImageThe Super Bowl halftime show normally features the biggest names in music, and this year, it’s got that in Justin Timberlake. But if you’re looking for the act that made Super Bowl halftime a thing, you’ve got to all the way back to 1993, when The King of Pop took the stage.

The trend of having current big-name music stars appear at the Super Bowl halftime show only dates back to 1991, when New Kids on the Block performed. Before that, halftime consisted of marching bands, older stars like Chubby Checker and Ella Fitzgerald, or the G-rated vocal troupe Up with People. That’s because, as The New York Times puts it, “It was decades before the NFL realized that the halftime show plays not to the stadium but to the camera.”

In 1992, Gloria Estefan performed during halftime, as part of a production called “Winter Magic.” But as E! Online reports, that year, Fox decided to counter program against the halftime show with a live episode of their then-hit comedy series In Living Color…and it worked. Viewers left the Super Bowl and tuned into Fox instead.

The following year, the NFL was determined to keep viewers glued to their sets, and that’s where Michael Jackson came in. According to E!, in order to the superstar on board, the league agreed to donate $100,000 to his Heal the World Foundation, and give him commercial time for one of the charity’s initiatives.

Michael’s performance at Super Bowl 27 in Pasadena, California, featured him performing “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” “We Are the World,” “Heal the World” and “Jam,” along with 3,500 children. According to E!, the stunt worked: The ratings increased during the halftime show and remained up for the rest of the game.

After that, it was all stars during halftime, all the time.

This year’s halftime show will be Timberlake’s third time on the Super Bowl stage. He previously performed in 2001, along with his group ‘N SYNC, Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige and Aerosmith, but it’s his 2004 appearance that’s better remembered.

That year, the show featured Janet Jackson, along with Justin, Nelly, Kid Rock and P. Diddy. Following the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” that led to Justin exposing Janet’s bare breast — a supposed accident — the NFL then switched to “safe” classic-rock acts as halftime performers.

In the years following, we saw The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Prince, The Who and Paul McCartney take the stage.

Contemporary pop returned to the scene in 2011, when the Black Eyed Peas performed; no wardrobe malfunctions ensued. Since then, the halftime shows have been largely free from controversy, except for Madonna‘s 2012 show, when one of her guests, rapper M.I.A., gave the finger to the crowd.

Here’s a reminder of who’s played Super Bowl halftime shows in the modern era:

1991 — New Kids on the Block
1992 — Gloria Estefan
1993 — Michael Jackson, performing with 3,500 children
1994 — Country stars Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Wynonna, and Naomi Judd
1995 — Patti Labelle, Miami Sound Machine & Tony Bennett
1996 — Diana Ross
1997 — ZZ Top, James Brown, the Blues Brothers featuring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi
1998 — Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, the Temptations, Queen Latifah
1999 — Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
2000 — Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton
2001 — Aerosmith, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige
2002 — U2
2003 — Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
2004 — Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Kid Rock, P. Diddy
2005 — Paul McCartney
2006 — The Rolling Stones
2007 — Prince
2008 — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
2009 — Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
2010 — The Who
2011 — Black Eyed Peas
2012 — Madonna
2013 — Beyonce (and Destiny’s Child, briefly)
2014 — Bruno Mars feat. Red Hot Chili Peppers
2015 — Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz & Missy Elliott
2016 — Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars
2017 — Lady Gaga
2018 — Justin Timberlake

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.