Jan 302014

Occasionally an aging performer or three, perhaps with local ties to the host city, from the pre-rock era was mixed in with the marching band, including the likes of Al Hirt, Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, and Andy Williams. It wasn’t until 1988 that a rock-era performer took part in these festivities, when Chubby Checker appeared at San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium to inspire a herd of fake “real” cheerleaders at Super Bowl XXII to twist again.

Halftime shows, as we have come to know them, featuring mini-concert extravaganzas by popular artists, began in 1991, at Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, Florida, when New Kids on the Block led a collection of Disney characters, 2000 fake “real” kids, and Warren Moon through a mini-set that probably made me and my friends wretch and wish for a return of college marching bands.

In time, these shows took on a more ambitious, mature, and dare-I-say sophisticated rock, pop, and soul tone. Who can forget Michael Jackson’s healing 1993 performance, Prince, Paul McCartney, U2, The Boss, The Who, The Stones, Tom Petty, Janet Jackson’s nipple, Madonna’s stumble, or the biggest game in the NFL’s most ambitious halftime show ever, the Blues Brothers Bash?

We can’t change the performances since the historic Chubby Checker halftime show, but thanks to the wonders of RTH Labs, we have the ability to back-fill halftime shows prior to the start of this phenomenon with appropriate rock, soul, and pop performers from 1967 through 1987. Let’s ditch the Disney troupes, the marching bands, and the over-the-hill performers from the WWII era and replace them with more rocking artists. Feel free to suggest your performer’s 3-to-5-song medley set.



  28 Responses to “Scheduling Super Bowl Sunday’s Retro Halftime Shows”

  1. BigSteve

    Superbowl IX (January 1975) was held in New Orleans at the old Tulane Stadium. I was in my last year at Tulane at the time, but I can’t say I remember anything about that. In any case it would have been the perfect time for The Meters to have been the halftime band. They were just coming off their best album, Rejuvenation, and its best-known songs — “People Say” and “Just Kissed My Baby” and “Hey Pocky A-Way” — supplemented by a classic like “Cissy Strut,” would have been a great halftime show.

    I now see that what actually happened was a “Tribute to Duke Ellington” with Mercer Ellington and Grambling State University Band, which is better than average for Super Bowls of that era.

  2. misterioso

    I have to vent some negativity here. Dear God, I hate the Super Bowl as “entertainment package.” Welcome back to a Celebration of America at Its Worst! Thanks for being with us!

    I probably have said before that the only two halftime shows that have ever justified my spending the time to watch them were U2 and Prince. (Oh, and Up with People makes three.) I will pass this year, and merely hope, after the fact, to hear about some sort of apocalyptic weather event to put the Red Hot Chili Peppers out of my misery once and for all.

  3. The first Super Bowl I can remember watching was the 1975 game between the Steelers and Vikings, so I would have liked to see some of the big stars of ’74 — Steve Miller doing “The Joker, The Hues Corporation doing “Rock the Boat,” Joni Mitchell doing a “Help Me,” and then close with Righteous Bros. “Rock n Roll Heaven.” That would take up about the right amount of time.

    P.S. A girl I went out with (circa 1988) was in Up With People in 1982 and she performed at the Super Bowl in Detroit, where they performed a fantasic a salute to 60s music. Six years later, she was still pissed that the Super Bowl was in Detroit, instead of some place warm. She had a great voice, smoked, drank, and was a born-again Christian to boot. I’d like to say I can recognize her in the video below, but there are just so many beautiful girls with early 80s hair that I can’t spot her in this video.

    With all the talent around here, I wonder if any RTHers ever did a stint in Up With People?

  4. cherguevarra

    This is a tangent (bad habit, I know, sorry) but a while back I came across a performance by the band Hunters and Collectors playing at the “Grand Final” of the AFL (where A stands for Australia…). Apparently one of the songs on their last album had become a football anthem and they had reunited to perform at halftime. They are a curious band, to me, with early raw material, some produced by Conny Plank, that is tribal, punky and somehow fits the mad max, intense, machismo that I imagine was required of late 70’s, early 80’s pub scene in Australia where bands had to be loud and raw or else they’d be out on their asses. Later, they seemed to be a more conventional bar band, playing standard blues-based (blues hammer) rock with simple, easy chord progressions. The fervor was still there, but the sound was much more conventional, maybe even bland.

    ANYWAY, so here is the band, reunited again, playing the big halftime show. I have my own impressions of this video – not sure how into it the crowd is. The band is miming (save the singing). The staging seems so minimal, almost pathetic. Maybe not almost. I find the whole thing curious.


    • Fascinating, cher! First of all, tangents are welcome in the Halls of Rock. No need to apologize. I remember this band. They always seemed to fall between the cracks of U2 and INXS. I think I dated a girl once who liked them. She’d pull out her Hunters and Collectors’ record now and then, and I’d think, “OK, I can deal with this if we’re going to end up making out by side 2.” But enough of my pathetic mid-’80s love life. You want hardcore, focused musical content, right?

      Bands playing county fairs play on more elaborate stages. That was hard to take. Also, what’s with their big game being played during the middle of the day? Don’t those people know how to milk a spectacular event and make fans wait until nighttime on a Sunday night with a workday looming?

  5. I can’t be the only one who thinks it would be hilarious for them to bring Morrissey out, right?

    He’d walk off the stage two minutes in because he’d smell the dead pig flesh of the ball.

  6. BigSteve

    I don’t know what marketing genius thought matching Bruno Mars and RHCP was a good idea, but this could be even more of a train wreck than previously thought — the Peppers have announced that they’re going to cover Dazed & Confused during the halftime show. WTF?

  7. I’m going to rectify a past oversight in Super Bowl halftime entertainment scheduling.

    Super Bowl XI…the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California…1977…Fleetwood Mac and a “referee” with a first-down chain take the stage. The ref measures off the distance between Stevie and a line of coke. Then the band launches into “The Chain” from its new album, Rumours.

  8. cherguevarra

    1967… Los Angeles… the Doors? Three Dog Night? Mamas and the Papas?

  9. BigSteve

    1983 … Los Angeles … X? Black Flag? Minutemen?

  10. In the early ’70s, during the first ’50s revival, a halftime show extravaganza could have featured Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Fats Domino reprising their showdown in some ’50s revival concert film I saw when I was a kid.

  11. diskojoe

    Would that film be this one (which was mentioned in Marshall Crenshaw’s Hollywood Rocks):


  12. It didn’t happen, but North Carolina in the late ’80s could have (wouldn’t have) been cool jangle pop groups (Connells, dBs, Let’s Active, etc.).

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