Halftime at the Super Bowl – The Creation

31 Jan

Carol Channing at Super Bowl VI

Halftime at the Super Bowl has transformed into the pinnacle of music stardom. You know you have made it when you grace the over-produced light-show of the Super Bowl. Well, my guess is you are aware that you have made it far before the Super Bowl. Acts like Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Madonna, and the Who have performed at the grand American affair since 2010, and pop songstress Katy Perry will team up with Lenny Kravitz in Arizona tomorrow (hopefully after a Seahawks smash-down first-balf of football – sorry Jets fan here). But was the Super Bowl halftime show always such an illustrious affair? Did you know the first Super Bowl halftime show was performed by none other than the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band?

So, when did the Super Bowl halftime show become must-watch television? Well, keep in mind that the Super Bowl has grown as an event as the NFL has grown in popularity. For many years, though, the Super Bowl was a themed affair with marching bands and cheer teams. In 1993 the NFL (and its sponsors) learned how TV ratings generally increase when you shove a superstar in front of the cameras and say sing. It was the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who turned the production into, well, a real production. After MJ’s 1993 show at the Rose Bowl, the Super Bowl started to attract some major talent, and today it is arguably the most watched event and easiest way for artists to get their music to oodles of drunk and overstuffed viewers.

Way before MJ, before the Super Bowl halftime show transformed into the massive spectacle we will all view tomorrow, there was one famous performer who graced the Super Bowl stage, becoming the first true singer to be featured at a Super Bowl (minus Carol Channing, who is pictured above at this Super Bowl). Before the King there needed to be a Queen.

Super Bowl VI – Jan. 16, 1972 at the late Tulane Stadium. As a salute to the revered Louis Armstrong, who passed away in June of 1971, Ella Fitzgerald played an excellent set. I don’t have a video of the SB, but here is Ella with Louis performing “Summertime”. Check it out and enjoy the big game tomorrow!

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