Date: February 9, 2022

Are you looking forward to the Super Bowl LVI halftime show more than the game itself? If so, you’re not alone! Over the decades, this famous (and sometimes infamous) feature of the big game has become a cultural icon of its own. While the halftime show is now known for its spectacle—like Katy Perry’s record-breaking performance or the first-ever solo Canadian performer, 2021 headliner The Weeknd—it hasn’t always been that way.

Before it became a grand, televised event, the Super Bowl halftime show was designed for an in-person audience, usually including university marching band performances alongside entertainers like The Three Stooges. These exhibits were closer to what you might see at a college football game today, although they did include some extras. The halftime show for the first AFL-NFL World Championship (what’s now called the Super Bowl) featured jet packs, pigeons, and much more.

The change began incrementally a few years after the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Ella Fitzgerald and Carol Channing were the first popular vocalists to perform at a Super Bowl, with Fitzgerald also the first African-American woman to do so—in addition to USAFA Cadet Chorale and U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team—in New Orleans. This 1972 presentation was dedicated to Louis Armstrong (and took place in his hometown) after he’d passed away the year before.

Halftime shows continued to evolve in waves over the next few years. In 1976, Up With People was the first non-marching-band group halftime performance as well as the first to install a sound system and theatrical lighting. They performed at the Super Bowl four more times, and their efforts really showcase the transition from an on-site event to a televised spectacle. Starting in 1991, globally recognized pop music acts like New Kids on the Block became the norm. In fact, in 1993, Michael Jackson’s halftime performance had more viewers than the game did!

If you’re curious about who else has represented Canada at the Super Bowl, the first time was in 1997 when The Blues Brothers [Dan Aykroyd (from Ottawa, Ontario), Jim Belushi, and John Goodman] performed, accompanied by their band (which was led by Canadian Paul Shaffer), James Brown, and ZZ Top. Then, in 2003, Shania Twain took centre stage in addition to No Doubt and Sting.

As one of the world’s most-watched sporting events on television, the Super Bowl draws millions of Canadian viewers annually! Wondering who’s performed throughout the years? Check out the rundown below.

A breakdown of Super Bowl halftime shows by year

1967: The Three Stooges, University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band, Grambling State University Marching Band, Al Hirt, and Anaheim High School Drill Team and Flag Girls

1968: Grambling State University Marching Band

1969: “America Thanks” – Florida A&M University Band and Miami-area high school bands

1970: Marguerite Piazza, Doc Severinsen, Al Hirt, and Lionel Hampton Southern University Marching Band

1971: Southeast Missouri State Marching Band

1972: “Salute to Louis Armstrong” – Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt, USAFA Cadet Chorale, and U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team

1973: “Happiness Is” – University of Michigan Marching Band, Woody Herman, and Andy Williams

1974: “A Musical America” – University of Texas Longhorn Band and Judy Mallett (Miss Texas 1973) on fiddle

1975: “Tribute to Duke Ellington” – Mercer Ellington and Grambling State University Marching Bands

1976: “200 Years and Just a Baby” Tribute to America’s Bicentennial – Up With People

1977: “It’s a Small World” – Los Angeles Unified All-City Band including spectators waving coloured placards on cue

1978: “From Paris to the Paris of America” – Tyler Apache Belles Drill Team, Apache Band Pete Fountain, and Al Hirt

1979: “Super Bowl XIII Carnival” Salute to the Caribbean – Ken Hamilton, various Caribbean bands including Grammacks of Dominica

1980: “A Salute to the Big Band Era” – Up With People, Grambling State University Marching Bands

1981: “A Mardi Gras Festival” – Southern University Marching Band and Helen O’Connell

1982: “A Salute to the 60s and Motown” – Up With People

1983: “KaleidoSUPERscope” – Los Angeles Super Drill Team

1984: “Super Bowl XVIII’s Salute to the Superstars of the Silver Screen” – the University of Florida and Florida State University Marching Bands

1985: “A World of Children’s Dreams” – Tops in Blue

1986: “Beat of the Future” – Up With People

1987: “Salute to Hollywood’s 100th Anniversary” – George Burns, Mickey Rooney, Grambling State University, and USC Marching Bands

1988: “Something Grand” featuring 88 grand pianos, the Rockettes, and Chubby Checker

1989: “Be Bop Bamboozled” featuring 3D effects with Elvis Presto and South Florida-area dancers

1990: “Salute to New Orleans” and 40th Anniversary of Peanuts’ characters, featuring trumpeter Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw, and Irma Thomas

1991: “A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl” – New Kids on the Block

1992: “Winter Magic” including a salute to the winter Olympics featuring Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano, and Dorothy Hamill

1993: “Heal the World” finale included audience card stunt

1994: “Rockin’ Country Sunday” – Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, and Wynonna and Naomi Judd

1995: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye” – Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval, and the Miami Sound Machine with stunts including fire and skydivers

1996: Celebrating 30 years of the Super Bowl – Diana Ross with special effects, pyrotechnics, and stadium card stunt

1997: “Blues Brothers Bash” – Dan Akroyd, John Goodman, and James Belushi featuring “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown and ZZ Top

1998: “A Tribute to Motown’s 40th Anniversary” – Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Martha Reeves, and The Temptations

1999: “Celebration of Soul, Salsa, and Swing” – Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and tap dancer Savion Glover

2000: “A Tapestry of Nations” – Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, and an 80-person choir

2001: “The Kings of Rock and Pop” – Aerosmith, ‘N’Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly

2002: U2

2003: Shania Twain, No Doubt, and Sting

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

2005: Paul McCartney

2006: The Rolling Stones

2007: Prince and the Florida A&M marching band

2008: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

2009: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

2010: The Who

2011: The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, and Slash

2012: Madonna

2013: Beyonce

2014: Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers

2015: Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, and Missy Elliott

2016: Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars

2017: Lady Gaga

2018: Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids, University of Minnesota Marching Band

2019: Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Big Boi

2020: Shakira, Jennifer Lopez

2021: The Weeknd

2022: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar

Don’t forget to grab your favourite snacks and tune into CTV, RDS, or TSN on Sunday, February 13, 2022 (you can also livestream the big game on DAZN)—kickoff is planned for 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and halftime should begin around 8 p.m. This year marks the Super Bowl’s first halftime with an all hip-hop lineup, and we’re excited to see how the show turns out! If the idea of performing for crowds of fans excites you, be sure to check out our performing arts opportunities.