Super Bowls have become famous among non-football fans for two reasons — their commercials and halftime shows. Today, when people think of the big game’s entertainment, most imagine A-list pop stars.
This year, another big pop star, Canadian singer The Weeknd, will perform. He will take the stage at halftime in Sunday’s game between defending champions Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
24/7 Tempo rounded up all the Super Bowl halftime shows since the event was first held in 1967 to find out just how much the show has changed.
The flashy spectacles of Super Bowl halftime performances are a relatively new trend. The show started as a small production and remained so for many years. It was reserved for marching bands and dance groups.
The first celebrity performer at the show was Carol Channing, a popular Broadway actor and “Hello, Dolly!” star. She appeared in the 1970 halftime show, but even then she was not the main act — the Southern University marching band was.
After Michael Jackson headlined the 1993 event, which significantly increased the show’s ratings, the National Football League started making an effort to sign big name performers.
Almost every halftime show until 2002 was crafted around a theme, which was usually a salute to an anniversary like Hollywood turning 100 or a festival like Mardi Gras. With an exception in 2004, themes were permanently dropped after 2002, when U2 paid a tribute to the people who were killed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Millions of people will sit down on Feb. 7 to watch Super Bowl LIV. Most will be more interested in the actual game, but many will wait to see the halftime show or the often hilarious commercials that brands unveil during the game — these are the 50 biggest Super Bowl advertisers of all time.