The event is so epic that often, people end up remembering the halftime shows much more than the actual game. So, we’ve made a list of the best and worst halftime shows in the history of the Super Bowl. Enjoy!
Worst: Gloria Estefan & Olympic Figure Skaters, 1992
The 1992 Super Bowl show had audiences excited. Famous singer Gloria Estefan and Olympic ice skaters Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill were the main attractions. They had prepared a whole show around the “Winter Magic” theme but it ended up becoming famous for being a huge flop.
What was meant to be a spectacular winter show turned into a scene of chaos - giant snowmen, random choreography, and dancers with weird costumes running around everywhere. Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine tried to save the day with a performance, but it was in vain. Audiences changed the channel, and the ratings plummeted.
Worst: Blues Brothers, James Brown, ZZ Top, 1997
With a lineup like this, you would imagine it to be one of the best halftime shows ever. However, even though the Godfather of soul himself, James Brown, tried his best, the show was terrible. The year was 1997, and the performers included the Blues Brothers Band (featuring greats John Goodman, Dan Akroyd, and Jim Belushi), ZZ Top, and James Brown.
Unfortunately, Jim couldn’t live up to his brother John Belushi’s talent, and the Blues Brothers' performance ended up being a dud. Afterward, James Brown had to lip-sync his beloved hits, and it was way too obvious. When legendary rock band ZZ Top got on stage, people were no longer interested.
Worst: Be-Bop Bamboozled, 1989
The 1989 Super Bowl halftime show was just plain weird. First of all, it was called “Be-Bop Bamboozled in 3D”, and according to the show producer, Dan Witkowski, it was meant to be an ironic take on 1950s shows.
The audience was asked to wear 3D glasses to see the “world’s largest card trick”, which ended up being just plain confusing. There was also an Elvis Presley impersonator called Elvis Presto and a separate magic trick act. Need we say more?
Worst: Irma Thomas, Doug Kershaw, Pete Fountain, and Snoopy, 1990
The halftime show of 1990 was solid proof that, more often than not, it’s better to keep things simple. This show was anything but that – featuring two completely unrelated themes. One was a homage to New Orleans since the Super Bowl was taking place there, and the other was a tribute to the 40th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strip.
The music was still very good. But the whole bit of snoopy on a steamboat dancing to ‘Where the Saints Go Marching In’, and then ‘Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown', was just too incoherent to enjoy.
Worst: Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, 1995
Another halftime show that was regarded as one of the strangest, craziest, and worst of all time was the one in 1995. The theme was ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye’, and the performers were Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, and the Miami Sound Machine.
All great artists on paper, but the added stunt people, live python snakes, an Indiana Jones impersonator, and lots of skydivers just ended up being way too much. The show producers wanted to go as big as possible and clearly, they went overboard.
Worst: Christina Aguilera, Phil Collins, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, and Tina Turner, 2000
Being as it was the first halftime show of the new millennium, it should’ve been one of the best. The list of performers certainly was, including Christina Aguilera, Tina Turner, Enrique Iglesias, Phil Collins, and Toni Braxton. What could go wrong, right? Well, everything, apparently.
Since Disney sponsored that year’s show, it was a complete sap-fest. Aguilera and Iglesias sang a cheesy duet, and Phil Collins sang a song from the 'Tarzan’ soundtrack. The producers wanted to make it a fun blend of Broadway and Disney, but it ended up being a total dud.
Worst: Black Eyed Peas, 2011
The 2011 halftime show was abominable, and it shouldn’t have been, considering the Black Eyed Peas were the main performers. The band did the worst job ever up on stage – super stiff choreography, awful vocals, and Fergie managed to ruin a classic Guns N’ Roses song.
After a while of terrible singing and dancing by the Peas, legendary guitarist Slash came on stage playing ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. We bet audiences would’ve given anything not to have seen such a rock anthem butchered by Fergie’s terrible vocals. After this show, Black Eyed Peas soon announced they were going on a break.
Worst: Up With People, 1986
The 1986 halftime show featured the American nonprofit organization ‘Up With People.’ It was the fourth time they’d performed in a Super Bowl halftime show, and it was terrible. The songs on the set were very slow and the dancers seemed bored out of their minds.
The critics were even worse, describing the performers as an “English language overdub of a Kim Jong Un birthday celebration”, and the music as “what the Manson family would’ve sounded like if they hadn’t become criminals.” As a performer, that’s probably the worst review you could possibly get.
Worst: The New Kids on the Block, 1991
With the Gulf War going on in 1991, that year’s Super Bowl halftime show was meant to support the troops. The performers were the pop boy band New Kids on the Block, who performed their hit song “Step by Step. The stage was invaded by children jumping around to the beat, and then suddenly, Disney characters appeared on stage. The song changed to “It’s A Small World”.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad since the late diva Whitney Houston did deliver an extraordinary rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” anthem. The show wasn’t played on live TV, and Houston’s performance became the only part to be replayed on TV.
Worst: The Who, 2010
It’s hard to imagine rock legends like The Who having a bad show, but unfortunately, this was the case for the 2010 halftime show. One needs to remember that these guys have been around since the 60s, and by 2010, Townshend and Daltrey were well above 60 years of age.
Maybe, the English performers didn’t understand how huge this show is for Americans and didn’t give it their absolute best. Critics ripped them apart, and audiences, especially those who knew what The Who sounds like, were incredibly disappointed.
Worst: Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi, 2019
2019 was a difficult year for the Super Bowl show producers to get performers. Tons of artists refused to perform because the NFL conflicted with Kaepernick, and so the lineup ended up being Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi. The halftime show was mainly criticized for being uneventful and boring, with the artists singing their usual hits in a mechanical way.
To make matters worse, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine got a lot of negative reactions when he took off his coat and performed shirtless. People saw this as an unfair double standard since Janet Jackson had been so heavily criticized 15 years back for showing a breast.
Worst: Shania Twain, Sting, And No Doubt, 2003
Shania Twain’s performance at the 2003 halftime show was a disappointment for country music fans everywhere. Twain’s set was so bland that the cameras focused on the band, pulling the cameras away from her.
To make things worse, Bon Jovi took the stage with his hit “it’s My Life” in the worst possible moment, right before the Buccaneers received the trophy. The only thing that might have saved the show from total disaster was Sting’s “Message in a Bottle” duet with Gwen Stefani.
Worst: Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, 2004
Nobody will ever forget the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show for all the wrong reasons. The show was going great for the first few minutes, with P. Diddy, Kid Rock, and Nelly putting on great performances. Then Janet Jackson appeared on stage, and Justin Timberlake joined in to do a “Rock Your Body” tribute, which was incredible until Timberlake exposed Jackson’s breast!
The 2-second mishap caused a storm of trouble, with the FCC getting over half a million complaints from the audience. Both artists said it was a wardrobe malfunction and not intentional, but that didn’t matter much after the fact.
Worst: The Weeknd, 2021
Regardless of who would have performed at the 2021 halftime show, it would have been a flop. The event took place in the middle of a global pandemic; of course, the energy was going to be super low, and the stadium was half empty. And this was exactly what The Weeknd performed when it went up on stage.
Lead singer Abel Tesfaye made the most out of a very difficult situation, singing hits like “Blinding Lights” and “After Hours” and dancing alongside an army of robot-mummy dancers with their faces covered in bandages.
Worst: Outkast Turned Down the 2004 Halftime Show
A little-known fact is that back in 2004, Outkast turned down an offer to perform in the halftime show. The famous rap duo apparently had creative differences from the show’s producers. Big Boi claimed that he could have gone ahead with the requests, but his partner Andre 3000, was not willing to compromise on their songs.
The show’s producers wanted the rap duo to shorten their hits “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move”, and the answer was a firm NO. There was a silver lining, though; if Outkast would have said yes, we wouldn’t have the infamous Janet Jackson scandal to look back to.
Worst: Jay-Z Says No to the Show, 2017
You would think that any artist would jump on the opportunity to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show. But you’d be wrong. Famous American rapper Jay-Z turned down the offer to perform at the 2017 halftime show, and there were speculations as to why.
Firstly, there was a rumor going around that his wife, Beyonce, never got paid for her Super Bowl halftime show, which was never confirmed or denied. Then, the rapper explained he said no in support of NFL player Colin Kaepernick and his ban from the league.
Worst: Beyonce Gets in Serious Trouble, 2016
The 2016 Super Bowl halftime show was a huge success as far as ratings and performances go. Beyonce delivered a stellar, one-of-a-kind show that only she knows how to do, but unfortunately, she still faced much criticism.
Queen Bey’s show did feature a lot of political and social issues, with tributes and references to many organizations, including Hurricane Katrina and the Black Panthers. Many critics and viewers applauded Beyonce for bringing these topics to such a huge platform, while others harshly said that the show should be about entertainment, not political agendas.
Worst: Red Hot Chili Peppers Go Unplugged, 2014
The Red Hot Chili Peppers appeared on stage after Bruno Mars headlined the halftime show, and it was the cherry on top of the cake. However, many people started noticing that the California band’s instruments were unplugged.
Bass player Flea confirmed that the RHCP knew beforehand that their songs were pre-recorded, and the only live element of their performance was their vocals. Flea further explained, “I understand the NFL's stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there are a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the TV viewers.”
Worst: Lady Gaga’s Body Shamers, 2017
Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2017 halftime show was amazing, but unfortunately, there will always be a handful of bullies that make a lot of noise online. After Gaga’s show, dozens of online trolls started posting about her ‘fat stomach”, which she exposed during the show.
But as fierce as she is, Lady Gaga immediately posted on social media, saying, "I'm proud of my body, and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. "Be you and be relentlessly you.” Well said!
Worst: ZZ Top Got a Bad Deal, 1997
The 1997 halftime show is mostly remembered for the Blues Brothers’ cringing performance. Few people remember that one of rock’s greatest bands performed too. ZZ Top played some of their greatest hits, including “Legs” and “Tush,” and the long-bearded members rocked out on stage like there was no tomorrow.
Too bad they came after the Blues Brothers, and so many viewers had turned off the TV or just stopped paying attention by then. Luckily enough, ZZ Top continued to have a stellar career, selling over 30 million albums worldwide and getting a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Worst: Too Much Up With People, 1971, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1986
To this day, the organization Up With People holds the record for the most performances in a halftime show ever. The strange part is that it is an organization that was started in 1965 by the Moral Re-Armament spiritual movement. Labeling itself as an education and entertainment organization, Up With People started appearing in Super Bowl halftime shows and fans were not crazy about them.
The shows were dramatic, often over-the-top sing-alongs that, for better or worse, started the tradition of booking big entertainment for halftime shows.
Worst: Artists Don’t Make That Much with the Halftime Show
You’d figure that a performer for the Super Bowl halftime show gets paid an insane amount of money for that short 12-minute set. However, performers only get reimbursed for their lodging, travel, production, and backup staff expenses. Which, if you think about it, means that what they make after all is said and done, is basically nothing.
The Super Bowl organizers justify this by stating that simply going on stage at the event is enough exposure to skyrocket any artist’s career. While this is true, artists still must spend a small fortune for their shows, such as Beyonce’s 2013 $600,000 production cost.
Average: Smokey Robinson, Boyz II Men, The Temptations, 1998
The halftime show of 1998 was a tribute to 40 years of Motown, so they brought in legends like Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, The Four Tops, and The Temptations. But the main attraction was one of the hottest boy bands of the time, Boyz II Men.
It wasn’t a bad show, but it wasn’t amazing either, with most critics rating it fairly average. Boyz II Men made the mistake of not playing their hit “End of the Road,” which audiences didn’t like. And then, the Motown legends took the stage and delivered a solid performance.
Average: Tanya Tucker, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, and The Judds, 1994
The halftime show at the 1994 Super Bowl was confusing because nobody knew who the performers were. Sure, they were as American as you can get, all from Nashville, all playing wholesome country music, but they weren’t really chart-toppers.
The set featured The Judds, Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, and Travis Tritt, and the show was as underwhelming as the musicians. It seems the Super Bowl producers just wanted a quiet year with a bland but ultimately traditional halftime show.
Average: Halftime Shows from 1967 to 1989
The first Super Bowl halftime show was in 1967, and the general opinion is that, until 1989, all shows were mediocre at best. With some exceptions, most of the shows back then didn’t really feature a famous artist or entertainer but simply a university’s marching band. Producers were trying to keep costs to a minimum, and halftime wasn’t a priority.
It was simply a space that had to be filled by something other than bathroom breaks and food vendors. However, after 1990, Super Bowl halftime shows became something of an institution, with people often tuning in to see the show rather than the actual game.
Best: Rolling Stones, 2006
Leave it up to the Rolling Stones to deliver an epic performance at the 2006 halftime show. Nothing better than to start a show with the speakers blasting out “Start Me Up” and “Satisfaction”. Audiences went crazy for the English band, who played for a heart-racing 12 minutes.
Of course, as was to be expected, the show’s producers had to censor or cut out parts of lyrics that were too daring to appear on TV, but Mick Jagger’s legendary strut and Keith Richards electrifying guitar more than made up for it.
Best: Katy Perry and Missy Elliott, 2015
These two stars put on a spectacular halftime show for the 2015 Super Bowl. First, in what seemed like an all-frills Las Vegas show, Katy Perry performed alongside Left Shark and quirky dancing palm trees.
The bit was incredibly entertaining, and things got even better when the audience saw a jaw-dropping comeback from one of America’s favorite artists – the one and only Missy Elliott. “Get Ur Freak On” blasted out of the speakers, and the crowd went wild. The show was a huge success, and both these ladies are still topping charts all these years later.
Best: Madonna, 2012
There’s a reason that Madonna is considered to be one of the world’s best performers – because the woman is a powerhouse. She proved this in her 2012 performance at the halftime show, appearing on stage with gladiator dancers and belting out her greatest hits.
The diva performed “Like a Prayer” to close the set, together with a beautiful choir dressed in robes and artist Cee Lo Green. Rocking the world since her 20s, Madonna looked as spectacular and talented as ever, making it one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows ever.
Best: Tom Petty, 2008
The 2008 Super Bowl halftime show might not have been life-changing, but it was definitely a great show. Tom Petty did what he did best and rocked the stage to screaming crowds and pleased critics. Petty opened the show with “American Girl” and “I Won’t Back Down,” two classic tunes that had everybody singing along.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers proved once again that they were one of the greatest American rock bands ever.
Best: Beyoncé, 2013
Queen Bey has seen nothing but success since the start of her career, and the 2013 halftime show was no exception. The crowds saw a silhouette on fire, and suddenly Beyonce appeared from behind a cloud of smoke, belting out “Crazy in Love” and “Love on Top.” Now that’s an entrance.
Things got even wilder when Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams came on stage for a nostalgic Destiny’s Child reunion, singing “Single Ladies,” “Bootylicious,” and “Independent Women.” As usual, Beyonce was surrounded by band members and female dancers carrying out well-planned choreographies.
Best: Prince, 2007
The one and only Prince led the halftime show for the 2007 Super Bowl. The producers were nervous, considering Prince is known for his saucy lyrics and dance moves, but everything turned out great. Prince performed an amazing show and pleased the crowds with hits like “Let’s Go Crazy” and then covered Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
To end things on a high note, Prince performed his classic song, “Purple Rain” under drops of rain fogging the stage lights since there was a storm in Florida. The performance couldn’t have been more perfect, nor the audience more excited.
Best: U2, 2002
In the most emotional halftime show in history, U2 gave an exceptional performance honoring the 9/11 victims. There were tears in the audience as Bono and his band sang “Where the Streets Have No Name” to a backdrop of all the names of the victims of the attacks. Bono was wearing a jacket lined with stars and stripes, to honor the American flag and its people.
Audiences loved the show, and it was a success all around, although it did get some negative reviews from critics. But it’s still considered one of the best halftimes shows ever.
Best: Bruce Springsteen, 2009
The 2009 Super Bowl was one of the most exciting games in the NFL’s history. It was a nail-biting game between the Cardinals and the Steelers, and the halftime show featured the great Bruce Springsteen. The Boss performed an unforgettable 15-minute set, rocking out hits like “Born to Run” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”.
The show producers had been trying to get Springsteen to perform for the halftime show for years, but he had turned the offer down. So, in 2009, everybody was extremely happy to have him on stage, especially after that epic knee-slide straight into the camera.
Best: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, 'N Sync, Nelly, & Mary J. Blige, 2001
Now, this was a lineup that looked great on paper and ended up being even better on stage. For the 2001 halftime show, producers made sure to book the most famous music artists of the year, which back then were Britney Spears and NSYNC. The sheer fact of having Spears and Timberlake on stage was enough to drive the crowd wild.
Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” was one of the craziest performances ever, and then Mary J. Blige entered the stage singing at the top of her lungs. The show was unstoppable and one of the best halftimes in Super Bowl history.
Best: Michael Jackson, 1993
The 1993 Super Bowl halftime show was an epic win for its producers. Even decades later, it is still considered one of the most memorable performances, and how could it not be? The King of Pop himself was the star of the show.
Jackson’s entrance on stage lasted a full minute and a half because the audience wouldn’t stop yelling with excitement. Jackson started with “Jam” and continued with the timeless classic “Billie Jean.” He closed the show with an emotional children's choir singing “We Are the World” and finished with an incredible rendition of “Heal the World.”
Best: Stevie Wonder, 1999
The crowds in Miami clamored when they saw Stevie Wonder appear for the Super Bowl halftime show of 1999. As always, Wonder was as good as ever, playing all-time favorites that made the audience dance their feet off. He also played a homage to Duke Ellington’s 100th birthday with the song “Sir Duke”.
To boot, Gloria Estefan recovered from her 1992 halftime show flop and wowed people with a salsa percussion performance. And who can forget the cameo from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy? Or Stevie Wonder driving on the football field?!
Best: Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2014
Performing at the halftime show one year after Beyonce’s stellar act must have been nerve-wracking, but fortunately, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers pulled it off. After dozens of teenage dancers took the stage for the 2014 halftime show, Bruno Mars suddenly filled the spotlight by banging on the drums. Mars sang, played all the instruments, danced around, and was basically a one-man show.
Then the legendary rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers appeared on stage, and everyone went wild. The band took off their shirts and started going crazy on stage and playing their most beloved hits. It was like a rave on stage.
Best: Diana Ross, 1996
Diva Diana Ross made everyone proud at the 1996 Super Bowl halftime show. Ross descended upon the stage in a sparkling crane as she shouted, “Come on, world!”. The soulful singer had dozens of backup dancers in red vests running around the stage.
The grand finale came as Ross announced, “Oh my, here comes my ride!”, and a helicopter landed on the stage. The diva boarded the helicopter and flew away in a grandiose act that had never been seen before. Now that’s an exit!
Best: Paul McCartney, 2005
You will never read the name Paul McCartney on any list that’s not “the best of.” Back in 2005, the ex-Beatle dazzled crowds with an opening performance of “Drive My Car” and “Get Back,” setting the stage for what would be a six-year stretch of classic rock halftime shows for the Super Bowl.
Considering this was one year after the Janet Jackson fiasco, Sir Paul McCartney certainly saved the day. He closed the show with “Live and Let Die” and “Hey Jude,” People were cheering as if it were a Beatles concert in the 60s.
Best: Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, 2016
In 2016 the beloved British band opened with “Yellow” and followed with “Viva la Vida”, both great songs to get any crowd going. Especially when “Viva la Vida” is performed along a huge kid orchestra led by the musical maestro, Gustavo Dudamel. The segway was even better when Beyonce appeared on stage and delivered a performance like the diva she is.
To top it off, Bruno Marks appeared and sang his hit “Uptown Funk,” to then be immediately joined again by Beyonce and Coldplay for an amazing performance of “Up&Up” and “Fix You.”
Best: Lady Gaga, 2017
Since the start of her career, Lady Gaga has never been known for keeping things simple, and her performance at the 2017 halftime show was anything but that. Mother Monster began her act by jumping off the stadium roof and singing “God Bless America” with a unique voice that only Gaga can pull off.
She continued the patriotic note with “This Land Is Your Land” and shifted to upbeat tunes to get the crowds going. Gaga’s performances of “Just Dance,” “Born This Way,” and “Telephone” were off the charts.
Best: M.I.A., Nicki Minaj, 2013
The 2013 Super Bowl halftime show is worth mentioning twice because each performer stood out. Madonna put on a great show, as always, but M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj were also spectacular. They came out dressed in Egyptian costumes and danced with pom-poms on stage.
Despite the show being a complete success, M.I.A. pulled off a stunt that cost her a lot of criticism and money. While performing with Madonna, M.I.A. pulled the middle finger straight into the camera, which ended up with Madonna being very upset and the NFL suing M.I.A. for $16 million. Fortunately, the artist settled with the NFL two years later for an undisclosed amount, which the NFL donated to charity. Supposedly.
Best: Tribute to Louis Armstrong, 1972
Back in the 70s, the Super Bowl halftime shows weren’t a spectacle in and of themselves but more of a bathroom break. However, some of them are worth mentioning, like the 1972 halftime show. In a tribute to legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong, the great Ella Fitzgerald and trumpeter Al Hirt performed a beautiful rendition of “Mack the Knife.”
The U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team and famous singer Carol Channing performed alongside the jazz greats, making the event one of the most memorable of the decade. Another thing that made this halftime show historic is that Ella Fitzgerald was the first African American woman to ever perform at the Super Bowl.
Best: Justin Timberlake's Tribute to Prince, And Selfie Kid,2018
After the great fiasco of 2004, Justin Timberlake returned to the stage for the 2018 halftime show. He was introduced by Jimmy Fallon and backed up by the University of Minnesota Marching Band, and the show was quite good. Timberlake performed his greatest hits, including “My Love,” “Senorita,” “Cry Me a River”, and even the controversial “Rock Your Body,” which he performed with Janet Jackson back in the day.
The golden moment was when Timberlake performed a tribute to Prince by playing “I Would Die 4 U” on a grand white piano. Also, after taking a selfie with a random kid, Timberlake was called to appear on Ellen.
Best: Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, 2020
The 2020 Super Bowl halftime show had producers scrambling for artists to perform since many turned the offer down due to Colin Kaepernick’s NFL ban. Fortunately, things turned out better than expected, with Latina divas Shakira and Jennifer Lopez giving out a stellar performances.
JLo appeared on stage on a stripper pole while Shakira played guitar hero and sook her hips to “She Wolf.” It was a very energetic spectacle with everybody cheering, and with JLo’s daughter Emme taking the stage to sing Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” the show was a huge success. Few remembered that J Balvin and Bad Bunny performed too!
Best: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, 2022
The 2022 Super Bowl halftime show was epic. The west coast legend Dr. Dre led a killer set that included some of the most legendary hip-hop artists of the last half a century. Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre started off with “California Love” and “The Next Episode”, then 50 Cent stunned fans with an upside-down performance of “In Da Club.”
Following was the legendary Mary J. Blige, dazzling crowds with her hits “No More Drama” and “Family Affair.” Let’s not forget Kendrick Lamar’s amazing performance with his backup dancers, and finally, Eminem performed “Lose Yourself.”
Best: Chubby Checker, The Rockettes, 1988
There’s a consensus that the decades of the 60s, 70s, and 80s were a bit of a dud in halftime show history. However, there are a few years worth mentioning, like 1988. For the Super Bowl XXII halftime show, famous American rock and roll singer Chubby Checker performed along with 88 grand pianos and the dazzling Rockettes.
The show was spectacular and would go on to set a precedent for the glitzy halftime shows to come in future years.
Best: The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, George Burns, Mickey Rooney, 1987
Another 80s halftime show worth mentioning is 1987. With a theme of “Salute to Hollywood’s 100th Anniversary”, the Super Bowl pregame show included a fun performance by The Beach Boys, and then famous singer Neil Diamond sang the national anthem.
For the halftime show, there was a fantastic introduction by comedian and vaudeville performer George Burns and an appearance by famous actor Mickey Rooney. Also featured were the Grambling University and USC Marching bands, some Disney characters, and the Southern California high school dancers and drill teams.
Best: Marguerite Piazza, Al Hirt, Lionel Hampton, Carol Channing, and Doc Severinsen, 1970
The 1970s was a great decade for music, so the 1970 Super Bowl halftime show had a lot going for it. Performers like soprano Marguerite Piazza, singer and actress Carol Channing, trumpeter Al Hirt, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, and jazz trumpeter Doc Severinsen made this an unforgettable show.
Taking place in the Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, the whole show was a tribute to the famous “Mardi Gras” festival, and people were as excited as can be.
Best: So Many Pianos, 1988
The 1988 Super Bowl halftime show was full of surprises, but the most noticeable (and record-breaking) one was the number of grand pianos on stage. The stadium in San Diego, California, had 88 grand pianos on the stage! Fittingly, that year’s theme was “Something Grand,” and it seems the producers took this quite literally.
The show's sponsor was Radio City Music Hall, so it had to be something elaborate. The show also served as a tribute to the famous comedian, actor, and singer, Bob Hope.