The Super Bowl Halftime Show has come a long way over the years, growing from a quaint marching band-centric affair to a blockbuster concert that draws in the biggest names in music — not to mention millions of eyeballs.
When it debuted in 1967, the halftime show featured, among other things, the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band performing “The Sound of Music” and “When the Saints Go Marching In,” nothing you wouldn’t be surprised to see at any ordinary college football game. As the years went on, however, it expanded — but it wasn’t quite A-list. Mid-game breaks featured everything from an Elvis Presley-impersonating magician (Elvis Presto, obviously) to the New Mouseketeers.
But when Michael Jackson headlined the halftime show in 1993, everything changed. Audiences grew accustomed to the idea of seeing the biggest pop star in the world performing at the biggest game in America, and before long, the modern halftime show took hold. It became not only an offering of live music and entertainment for football fans waiting patiently for third quarter to start, but also a badge of honor for the artists invited to perform. Playing the Super Bowl is one of the greatest milestones you can achieve as a musician, a singular marker of a star who’s earned their stripes as a bona fide legend.
From MJ’s game-changer to Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s culture-shifting slipup, and from Beyonce’s 2013 show-stopper to Dr. Dre’s 2022 hip-hop extravaganza, keep reading to see Billboard‘s 13 best Super Bowl Halftime Show performances of all time.
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