The Super Bowl comes around ever year and has been an icon of America since it began nearly 40 years ago. In fact, it has become such a big thing in America that people who don’t even like football tend to watch the Super Bowl, if only for the best commercials that are launched during the Super Bowl and then for the halftime shows.
This year will be the first that I officially become a Super Bowl Widow. I admit it, I’m not even remotely interested in football, the teams, the players, or anything about the game unless it’s played on Friday night by our local high school teams, and even then, I prefer the halftime shows by the bands over the actual game.
So this year, I have been asked to help host a Super Bowl party. Okay, beer, chips, dip, salsa (have to have it in Texas), and then after that, get out of the way – easy party to plan – but I’m sure the clean up is going to be much worse than the set up.
Knowing I didn’t like football, but wanting to share in this male bonding ritual, I decided to look into the halftime show to see if there was at least something about this year’s show that might appeal to me. After all, who can forget the now infamous ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ of the past?
What I discovered was that most Super Bowls had a theme each year, and the talent for the halftime show was usually picked based on that theme. I did not know this. Additionally, I learned the first Super Bowl halftime shows were nothing more than the traditional marching band that many college and high school football teams use.
Super Bowl VI was the first to break that traditional but offering a theme that year as a tribute to Louis Armstrong, with celebrity guests, including Ella Fitzgerald and Carol Channing.
Super Bowl X’s halftime show was hosted and produced by Up With People, a foreign exchange program set up to teach tolerance, understanding and sharing of different cultures and countries through student study-abroad exchange opportunity. Up With People would return for Super Bowl XIV, Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XX.
As time marches on, the Super Bowl began to attract some popular or up and coming entertainers, primarily from the musical field. Some of the musical talent that has appeared in the past Super Bowl halftime shows include:
** Michael Jackson — Super Bowl XXVII
** Chubby Checker — Super Bowl XXII
** New Kids on the Block — Super Bowl XXV (Which was produced by Disney)
** ZZ Top, James Brown, and a Blue Brothers Tribute – Super Bowl XXXI
** Clint Black, The Judds, Travis Tritt, and Tanya Tucker – Super Bowl XXVIII
** A Motown Salute (Various Artists) – Super Bowl XXXII
Of course, there are many other musical groups and performers who shared time during the Super Bowl halftime shows, but there were some who received the entire show for themselves, such as Paul McCartney during Super Bowl XXXIX, and the Rolling Stones during Super Bowl XL.
It seems the Super Bowl halftime show gets bigger, grander, and more expensive to host every year, and many who attend the Super Bowl in person are no longer going to see the game, but are actually there for the halftime show and concert itself.
Adding to the entertainment, the National Anthem has become a star studded walk of fame for who has been selected each year to launch the Super Bowl festivities. Celebrity signers of the National Anthem include: Barry Manilow, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Aaron Neville, Whitney Houston, Garth Brooks, Harry Connick Jr., Faith Hill, The Backstreet Boys, Cher, Jewel, Luther Vandross, Vanessa Williams, and even Charlie Pride.
Billy Joel holds the notorious distinction of being the only entertainer who has been scheduled to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl more than one, although Aaron Neville has sung twice, but his second appearance was a duet with Aretha Franklin.
The Super Bowl also added an American Sign Language interpreter for the National Anthem kick off festivities with Super Bowl XXVI, in January 1992.
So for all you Super Bowl Widows out there, this year, you can enjoy the kick off show’s entertainment, run into the kitchen to grab the snacks and cold beers and sodas for the true football fans, run around like crazy with the hand held vacuum cleaning up the cheese doodles from the floor and couch, and then relax and enjoy the halftime festivities while the football fans are stretching their legs, taking the bathroom breaks, and stepping outside to check the BBQ on the grill, while arguing over whether propane or charcoal is the best way to cook red meat.
For Super Bowl XLI, on February 4, 2007, you can expect to hear Billy Joel sing the National Anthem. This year’s halftime entertainment, according to the Super Bowl’s official website, is Prince.