15 Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Shows

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1993 - Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson. Photo by George Rose / Getty Images

Before Michael Jackson performed at the Super Bowl, the halftime shows were heavily focused on family and kid-friendly presentations. Walt Disney produced much of the entertainment. However, the success of Michael Jackson's performance bringing an even larger television audience to the event changed the way the Super Bowl halftime would be seen in the future. He took the stage on the heels of his #1 smash hit album Dangerous and the accompanying concert tour.

Set List

  • "Jam"
  • "Billie Jean"
  • "Black Or White"
  • "We Are the World"
  • "Heal the World"

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1996 - Diana Ross

Diana Ross
Diana Ross. Photo by Al Bello / Getty Images

To help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Super Bowl, the ultimate diva Diana Ross was enlisted to provide the halftime entertainment. She swept through a medley of her memorable hits and literally soared from the stadium in a helicopter while performing "Take Me Higher."

Set List

  • "Stop In the Name Of Love"
  • "You Keep Me Hangin' On"
  • "Baby Love"
  • "You Can't Hurry Love"
  • "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?"
  • "Chain Reaction"
  • "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)"
  • "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
  • "I Will Survive"
  • "Take Me Higher"

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2002 - U2

U2. Photo by Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Irish rock band U2 appeared at the Super Bowl in the emotional months following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The names of victims scrolled in the background while U2 performed. There was likely not a dry eye in the house when Bono pulled open his jacket at the close of "Where the Streets Have No Name" revealing an American flag sewn into the lining.

Set List

  • "Beautiful Day"
  • "MLK"
  • "Where the Streets Have No Name"

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2004 - Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and More

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Photo by J. Shearer / WireImage

This Super Bowl halftime show went well until the end. Janet Jackson, Nelly, Kid Rock, and P. Diddy all presented a range of contemporary hit songs. During Janet Jackson's performance of her landmark song "Rhythm Nation," Justin Timberlake joined her onstage. They then delivered Justin Timberlake's hit single "Rock With You" in highly suggestive fashion. With the line, "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song," he tore open part of Janet Jackson's costume revealing a portion of her breast and creating one of the most controversial moments in television history.

Set List

  • Janet Jackson - "All For You"
  • P. Diddy - "Diddy"
  • Nelly - "Hot In Herre"
  • P. Diddy - "Mo Money Mo Problems"
  • Kid Rock - "Bawitdaba"
  • Kid Rock - "Cowboy"
  • Janet Jackson - "Rhythm Nation"
  • Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake - "Rock Your Body"

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2005 - Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney. Photo by Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Stung by the controversy of the previous year, the NFL was determined to make a "safe choice" for the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXIX. Former Beatle and pop music legend Paul McCartney filled the bill perfectly. Three of his four songs were Beatles classics complimented well by the massive pyrotechnics of his own "Live and Let Die."  The Super Bowl halftime show was back on track as a yearly showcase for one of the world's top recording artists.

Set List

  • "Drive My Car"
  • "Get Back"
  • "Live and Let Die"
  • "Hey Jude"

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2006 - Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones. Photo by Theo Wargo / WireImage

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Super Bowl, the Rolling Stones were hired to present the halftime show. The game took place in Detroit, and the choice of a band with no Detroit connection irritated some. However, the performance was a success. A five-second delay was used for television audiences which allowed ABC to censor lyrics deemed too sexual for the at-home viewers. The Rolling Stones agreed ahead of time to the censoring.

Set List

  • "Start Me Up"
  • "Rough Justice"
  • "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

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2007 - Prince

Prince. Photo by Theo Wargo / WireImage

Rain did not deter Prince from delivering one of the most well-received of all Super Bowl halftime shows. He performed his own hits as well as covering songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, and Foo Fighters.  There was some controversy over the phallic appearance of Prince's guitar in silhouette. However, most brushed it off as no more or less sexual than any elements of Prince's live performances in the past.

Set List 

  • "We Will Rock You"
  • "Let's Go Crazy"
  • "Baby I'm a Star"
  • "Proud Mary"
  • "All Along the Watchtower"
  • "Best of You"
  • "Purple Rain"
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2008 - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty
Tom Petty. Photo by Andy Lyons / Getty Images

There was significant speculation about who would be the halftime performer for Super Bowl XLII before Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were announced. Rolling Stone magazine reported that the Eagles were initially offered the slot, but they turned it down. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers used their appearance to kick off a world tour.

Set List

  • "American Girl"
  • "I Won't Back Down"
  • "Free Fallin'"
  • "Runnin' Down a Dream"

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2009 - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen. Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Reportedly Bruce Springsteen had turned down multiple past offers to perform at the Super Bowl. In 2009 he finally accepted the invitation and delivered an acclaimed energetic performance. Each of his songs was trimmed by at least one verse to accomodate the 12 minute halftime show time limit.

Set List

  • "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"
  • "Born To Run"
  • "Working On a Dream"
  • "Glory Days"

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2010 - The Who

The Who
The Who. Photo by Kevin Mazur / WireImage

In a shift from what had become a Super Bowl standard, fans were not crowded around the halftime stage for the performance by legendary rock band The Who.  They performed a medley of their hits. All of the songs were more than 30 years old. Some commentators questioned whether the NFL selection process was in touch with contemporary music.

Set List

  • "Pinball Wizard"
  • "Baba O'Riley"
  • "Who Are You"
  • "See Me, Feel Me"
  • "Won't Get Fooled Again"

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2011 - The Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas. Photo by Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Coming off a string of six consecutive top 10 pop hits and two of the biggest hits of all time "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling," The Black Eyed Peas won out over country music for the halftime performance slot at Super Bowl XLV. For the first time in seven years, special guests were included.  Guns 'n Roses' Slash joined Fergie in her cover of "Sweet Child O' Mine" and Usher appeared in his duet with will.i.am on "OMG."

Set List

  • "I Gotta Feeling"
  • "Boom Boom Pow"
  • "Sweet Child O' Mine" with Slash
  • "Pump It"
  • "Let's Get It Started"
  • "OMG" with Usher
  • "Where Is the Love?"
  • "The Time (Dirty Bit)"

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2012 - Madonna

Madonna. Photo by Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Madonna's Super Bowl halftime appearance set a new record for the most television viewers for a Super Bowl halftime show. Cirque du Soleil collaborated with Madonna in producing the show. The performance included 100 percussion players and a 200 member choir. M.I.A.'s middle finger gesture elicited a public apology from the NFL and NBC, but the overall show received strong positive acclaim.

Set List

  • "Vogue"
  • "Music / Party Rock Anthem / Sexy and I Know It" with LMFAO
  • "Give Me All Your Luvin" with Nicky Minaj and M.I.A.
  • "Open Your Heart / Express Yourself / Like a Prayer" with Cee Lo Green

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2013 - Beyonce

Beyonce. Photo by Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Beyonce took her Super Bowl performance as the opportunity to strongly reassert her live performance skills and reunite onstage with her Destiny's child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The show received strong critical acclaim and avoided any significant controversy. At the time, Beyonce's Super Bowl halftime show set a new record as the most tweeted about moment in Twitter history.

Set List

  • "Run the World (Girls)"
  • "Love On Top"
  • "Crazy In Love"
  • "End of Time"
  • "Baby Boy"
  • "Bootylicious" as Destiny's Child
  • "Independent Women (Part 1)" as Destiny's Child
  • "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams
  • "Halo"

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2014 - Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars. Photo by Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Bruno Mars' Super Bowl halftime show ranked as the most watched in television history to that point. It included a guest appearance from rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. At age 28, Bruno Mars became the youngest solo headlining act in Super Bowl halftime history. The fireworks accompanying his closing "Just the Way You Are" were the biggest pyrotechnic display in Super Bowl history.

Set List

  • "Billionaire"
  • "Locked Out of Heaven"
  • "Treasure"
  • "Runaway Baby"
  • "Give It Away" with Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Just the Way You Are"

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2015 - Katy Perry

Katy Perry
Katy Perry at the Super Bowl. Photo by Rob Carr / Getty Images

Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show broke all viewing records for the event. More than 118 million viewers tuned in and the broadcast later won two Emmy Awards. The audience for the halftime show exceeded that for the game itself. In one portion of the show, Katy Perry was accompanied by two dancers dressed in shark costumes. The "left shark" in particular gained viral attention on the Internet for his enthusiastic performance. As a result of the acclaim accompanying the show, Katy Perry and Missy Elliott both saw a nearly 100% increase in sales totals for their music the week following the Super Bowl.

Set List

  • "Roar"
  • "Dark Horse"
  • "I Kissed a Girl"
  • "Teenage Dream"
  • "California Gurls"
  • "Get Ur Freak On / Work It" with Missy Elliott
  • "Lose Control" - Missy Elliott solo
  • "Firework"

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