Who Was the Headliner of the First Super Bowl Halftime Show?
The Super Bowl halftime show has always been one of the biggest entertainment events of the year, even though it’s not actually part of the game itself but who was the headliner of the first Super Bowl halftime show? It seems like it was an important enough gig to have been headlined by someone big, but we’re not quite sure who that star was. Let’s take a look back at some trivia about the first Super Bowl halftime show to try and figure out who that star might have been!
The First Super Bowl
In December 1967, Commissioner Pete Rozelle and President Lyndon Johnson were in attendance to watch the Green Bay Packers face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. The game win by Green Bay, with a final score of 35-10. The first ever Super Bowl halftime show featured marching bands from local colleges and universities.
Up until this point, marching bands typically performed at pregame ceremonies or after the game. However, they were allow on stage for one song before the third quarter. John Phillip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever is often regard as the only football song to have been playing at every single Super Bowl halftime show. The Steelers’ performance in Super Bowl IX has been voted the greatest halftime show of all time. Their 14-minute set list included Sweet Georgia Brown, America, and Jumpin’ Jack Flash
During their iconic performance of Purple Rain during the Prince concert held at Houston’s Astrodome following Hurricane Katrina, it appeared that all attendees were wearing purple raincoats
Beyoncé made history when she became the first female headliner for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show
The First Halftime Show
In 1967, the first ever Super Bowl took place in Los Angeles. The halftime show featured a marching band from Arizona State University. The halftime show was also broadcast to 18 other TV stations around the country and was watch by an estimated 60 million people. The lead singer for the ASU band was Larry Conley who is still performing today with his own group Larry Conley & His 10 Gallon Hats.
Interestingly, while there are no recorded statistics on who won this game, Notre Dame would go on to win that season’s national championship. It turns out that although the two teams never met in college football, they were both vying for the title of best NFL team at the time. The Pittsburgh Steelers played against the Green Bay Packers at Forbes Field.
Prior to this game, both teams had 9 wins and 3 losses. With three seconds left in the game, Terry Bradshaw threw a pass downfield towards John Stallworth who caught it and ran into the endzone which gave Pittsburgh its first Super Bowl victory 16-6 over Green Bay!
The First Headliner
The first headliner for a super bowl halftime show was Hank Williams Jr. who sang All My Rowdy Friends are Coming over Tonight. This very first year, there were no flashy lights or pyrotechnics and it was just Hank on stage with his guitar. In 1989, Billy Joel was asked to perform at the halftime show, and in 1990 he played three songs which include (from memory) Piano Man, You May Be Right, and Uptown Girl.
These performances included (again from memory) fireworks shooting up behind him that spelled out Maysville. In 1993 Mariah Carey performed at the half time show singing Hero and One Sweet Day with Boyz II Men. In 1995 Michael Jackson did an incredible rendition of Rockin’ Robin where he donned a spangled blue sequined suit.
He also had four consecutive numbers with different themes including I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, Black Or White, Heal the World and We Are the World. The following year(1996), Oasis member Noel Gallagher did an unforgettable performance with Wonderwall.
In 2000 Phil Collins sang drums while vocalist Luther Vandross serenaded us all with his version of Against All Odds.
How the Show Has Changed Over the Years
The show has changed significantly since that first performance. Artists often take the opportunity to promote their latest album or tour, while sometimes performing new material. The halftime show is an expensive production, with a reported $10 million budget for Katy Perry’s recent performance.
There are high expectations from fans and critics alike for these performances, which are largely consider over-produce and underwhelming by some. A few artists have declined invitations in protest of this corporate takeover; Beyoncé famously declined after lip-syncing her way through a stormy rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration in 2013 due to her pregnancy with twins.
Bruce Springsteen also turned down an offer to play, citing his opposition to Trump’s immigration policies. While many performers shy away from making political statements during the set, others use it as a platform for activism. For example, Lady Gaga wore an American flag as a hijab during her 2017 performance following attacks on Muslims living in America.
The first half time show at a super bowl was headlines by none other than the King himself, Elvis Presley. The show took place on January 14th, 1968, and Elvis performed four songs including You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’. Some might say that it was one of his best performances ever. He even wore the NFL’s 50th-anniversary patch on his jacket! It’s not often that you see an icon like Elvis in such an intimate setting as the halftime show at a football game. If you’re looking for some nostalgia, don’t miss this post on who was the headliner of the first super bowl halftime show.
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