Super Bowl LI: A History of Super Bowl Halftime Performances in the Modern Era

After 1991, the Super Bowl tapped the stars to entertain us at half time.

ByANDREA DRESDALE
February 05, 2017, 11:34 AM

— -- The Super Bowl halftime show normally features the biggest names in music, and this year, it certainly has one in Lady Gaga.

In fact, the NFL claims that she's the first artist who's ever gone from singing the national anthem at the game to performing at halftime the very next year.

The Super Bowl was last held in Houston in 2004, the year Janet Jackson's notorious "wardrobe malfunction" scandal led the NFL to turn to "safe" classic rock acts as halftime performers. Since then, the halftime show headliners have included the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Who, U2 and Paul McCartney.

Contemporary pop returned to the scene in 2011, when the Black Eyed Peas performed; no wardrobe malfunctions ensued. Lady Gaga has assured reporters that there won't be any on Sunday, either.

The trend of having current big-name music stars perform in the Super Bowl halftime show only dates back to 1991, when New Kids on the Block took the stage.

Before that, halftime consisted of marching bands, older stars like Chubby Checker and Ella Fitzgerald, or the G-rated vocal troupe Up With People. That's because initially, the halftime show was designed to entertain the audience in the stands, not those viewing at home.

As the New York Times put it, "It was decades before the N.F.L. realized that the halftime show plays not to the stadium but to the camera."

But after 1991, it was all stars, all the time, especially in 1993, when Michael Jackson, the reigning King of Pop, sang "Heal the World" with thousands of children.

Here's a reminder of who's played Super Bowl halftime shows in the modern era:

1991 -- New Kids on the Block

1992 -- Gloria Estefan

1993 -- Michael Jackson, performing with 3,500 children

1994 -- Country stars Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Wynonna, and Naomi Judd

1995 -- Patti Labelle, Miami Sound Machine & Tony Bennett

1996 -- Diana Ross

1997 -- ZZ Top, James Brown, the Blues Brothers featuring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi

1998 -- Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, the Temptations, Queen Latifah

1999 -- Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

2000 -- Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton

2001 -- Aerosmith, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige

2002 -- U2

2003 -- Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting

2004 -- Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Kid Rock, P. Diddy

2005 -- Paul McCartney

2006 -- The Rolling Stones

2007 -- Prince

2008 -- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

2009 -- Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

2010 -- The Who

2011 -- Black Eyed Peas

2012 -- Madonna

2013 -- Beyonce (and Destiny's Child, briefly)

2014 -- Bruno Mars feat. Red Hot Chili Peppers

2015 -- Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz & Missy Elliott

2016 -- Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars

2017 -- Lady Gaga

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