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Top 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Show Performances

by Paul Traunero February 3, 2014
Top 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Show Performances

10.  Super Bowl XXXII (1998) (Green Bay Packers vs. Denver Broncos)

Featuring: Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and The Four Tops

In a tribute to Motown Record’s 40th anniversary some of the finest R&B groups from the label performed a medley of their hits. Boyz II Men bridged the generational gap between the legendary Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and The Four Tops in this smooth and classy act.

9.  Super Bowl XLIII (2009) (Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals)

Featuring: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

“I want you to put the chicken fingers down and turn your television all the way up,” demanded Springsteen as he jumped into his four-song performance during the 2009 Super Bowl. Not only did The Boss nail his performance, he also nailed the cameraman with his crotch during an overzealous stage slide. God bless America!

8. Super Bowl XXXVI (2002) (St. Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots)

Featuring:  U2

U2 delivered a powerful and uplifting performance in tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. During the song “Where the Streets Have No Name,” all the names of the 9/11 victims scrolled up on a screen behind the band, who were mounted on a heart-shaped stage.

7. Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004) (Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots)

Featuring: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (with P. Diddy, Kid Rock and Nelly)

This performance was memorable because it brought the term  “wardrobe malfunction” to the general public. At the end of their performance of “Rock Your Body,” Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson’s costume, exposing her right breast to millions of viewers. This incident caused a huge scandal with the FCC and was henceforth dubbed “Nipplegate.”

 6. Super Bowl XXXIX (2005) (Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

Featuring: Paul McCartney

Subsequent to the 2004 “wardrobe malfunction,” broadcasters were looking for something a little less controversial and safe. McCartney delivered a solid and engaging performance, proving that halftime shows aren’t just for pop acts. His finale of “Hey Jude” certainly got the crowd on their feet.

5. Super Bowl XXX (1996) (Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

Featuring: Diana Ross

Bringing spectacle and glamour to Super Bowl XXX, Ms. Ross performed an impressively extensive medley of her hits. Always the diva, she brought her performance “higher and higher” as she rose on a golden mountain during “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and ascended in a helicopter during the climax of “Take Me Higher.”

4. Super Bowl XLVI (2012) (New York Giants vs. New England Patriots)

Featuring: Madonna (with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green and LMFAO)

Madonna’s performance was rated as the most-watched halftime show in history, with upwards of 114 million viewers tuning in. Despite Madge’s entrance on a golden throne for her hit “Vogue,” M.I.A. was the one who ultimately stole the show by flipping off the camera, and confirming her status as a total badass.

3. Super Bowl XXVII (1993) (Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Featuring: Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was one of the first superstars to perform in a Super Bowl halftime show. The King of Pop was at the peak of his popularity in 1993 and wowed  viewers with a stellar performance of his hit singles, along with a choir of 3,500 children for a message of harmony with “We Are the World.”

2. Super Bowl XLVII (2013) (Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers)

Featuring: Beyoncé (with Destiny’s Child)

Beyoncé proved that girl power still exists in her fierce performance in 2013, which generated a record breaking 299,000 tweets per minute. In addition to performing her chart-topping singles, Queen Bey was joined on stage by her fellow Destiny’s Child bandmates, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, for a long-awaited reunion.

1. Super Bowl XLI (2007) (Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears)

Featuring: Prince

Despite the heavy rain drenching the stage, Prince tore up the halftime show with a stellar performance, full of improvisation and guitar solos, featuring his biggest hits and some surprising cover songs, including a funk rendition of the Foo Fighters’ “Best of You” and a spine chilling finale with “Purple Rain.”

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