The 1997 halftime show is mostly remembered for the Blues Brothers’ cringing performance. Few people remember that one of rock’s greatest bands performed too. ZZ Top played some of their greatest hits, including “Legs” and “Tush,” and the long-bearded members rocked out on stage like there was no tomorrow.
Too bad they came after the Blues Brothers, and so many viewers had turned off the TV or just stopped paying attention by then. Luckily enough, ZZ Top continued to have a stellar career, selling over 30 million albums worldwide and getting a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Worst: Red Hot Chili Peppers Go Unplugged, 2014
The Red Hot Chili Peppers appeared on stage after Bruno Mars headlined the halftime show, and it was the cherry on top of the cake. However, many people started noticing that the California band’s instruments were unplugged.
Bass player Flea confirmed that the RHCP knew beforehand that their songs were pre-recorded, and the only live element of their performance was their vocals. Flea further explained, “I understand the NFL's stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there are a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the TV viewers.”
Worst: Lady Gaga’s Body Shamers, 2017
Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2017 halftime show was amazing, but unfortunately, there will always be a handful of bullies that make a lot of noise online. After Gaga’s show, dozens of online trolls started posting about her ‘fat stomach”, which she exposed during the show.
But as fierce as she is, Lady Gaga immediately posted on social media, saying, "I'm proud of my body, and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. "Be you and be relentlessly you.” Well said!
Worst: Too Much Up With People, 1971, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1986
To this day, the organization Up With People holds the record for the most performances in a halftime show ever. The strange part is that it is an organization that was started in 1965 by the Moral Re-Armament spiritual movement. Labeling itself as an education and entertainment organization, Up With People started appearing in Super Bowl halftime shows and fans were not crazy about them.
The shows were dramatic, often over-the-top sing-alongs that, for better or worse, started the tradition of booking big entertainment for halftime shows.
Worst: Artists Don’t Make That Much with the Halftime Show
You’d figure that a performer for the Super Bowl halftime show gets paid an insane amount of money for that short 12-minute set. However, performers only get reimbursed for their lodging, travel, production, and backup staff expenses. Which, if you think about it, means that what they make after all is said and done, is basically nothing.
The Super Bowl organizers justify this by stating that simply going on stage at the event is enough exposure to skyrocket any artist’s career. While this is true, artists still must spend a small fortune for their shows, such as Beyonce’s 2013 $600,000 production cost.