Many of the world’s best, brightest and most renowned musicians have played the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Hell, some of them have played it on multiple occasions. Playing — or, more important, being invited to play — solidifies one’s status as a worldwide entertainer, which certainly explains why megastars like Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Houston’s own Beyoncé have all taken a turn.
But what about those who have yet to play the big game? For those who think the talent well is dry, that anyone who’s anyone has already played, you’re mistaken. Plenty of entertainers have yet to take the world’s biggest stage. (Note: Even those who have played a secondary role or performed as part of a group at a previous halftime show – Justin Timberlake, for instance – are excluded from the list.)
10. PEARL JAM
For one of the biggest bands in America, Pearl Jam sure does a good job of remaining relatively under the radar. Much of that stems from front man Eddie Vedder, a private person who shuns publicity and the spotlight. In short, this is a stretch, but it would be nice for Vedder (an admitted sports fan) and crew to show the world how they’ve managed to remain relevant for nearly 30 years.
9. GARTH BROOKS
A little lower on the list, mostly because this should have already happened in the '90s, when Brooks was the biggest commercial force in music. The country king has performed at a Super Bowl (he sang the national anthem in 1993) but never as the halftime entertainment. Considering Brooks has begun a career resurgence of sorts — complete with new music and a worldwide tour — this one might actually be in play at some point, particularly if organizers decide to go the country route.
Should have happened already, considering last year’s Super Bowl was played on Metallica's home turf of the Bay Area. Super Bowl organizers have traditionally shunned hard rock, preferring instead to go with more traditional pop acts like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. When rock is on display, it’s in the form of a safer, more classic choice like The Who, Paul McCartney or the Stones. This makes some sense, considering the event is live and hard rockers have a rep for being somewhat unpredictable. However, the members of Metallica are all in their fifties, not to mention all professionals, so it’s time to let one of the finest rock bands of all time do its thing and give halftime a little juice.
This one is a virtual guarantee to happen at some point, considering that most of Rihanna’s pop-star peers (Beyoncé, Gaga, Katy Perry, etc.) have already performed at the Super Bowl. She’s got name value worldwide, has an extensive catalog of hits from which to pull and has a number of friends (including the No. 3 entry here) in the music industry that could make for some nice halftime collaborations.
Jay-Z is from New York. The greater New York/New Jersey area, with MetLife Stadium in tow, will likely host another Super Bowl within the next decade. How can Jigga man not headline this event? Kick things off with “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” bring out Beyoncé for a little “03 Bonnie & Clyde” or “Crazy In Love,” and close things out by joining up with Alicia Keys and saluting the Super Bowl site with “Empire State of Mind.” The Super Bowl has traditionally shied away from hip-hop, save for past appearances by the likes of Puff Daddy and Nelly. This should change, starting with Jay-Z.
While the NFL and Pepsi (which sponsors the halftime show) may claim otherwise, Adele was offered the headlining slot at this year’s Super Bowl, to be held February 5 at NRG Stadium. She turned the gig down and admitted as much during a show in Los Angeles, citing the fact that the Super Bowl halftime really isn’t tailored to her brand of music. This is true; the show is better suited for more uptempo acts like Beyoncé or Gaga. That said, Adele is a true treasure, one with a worldwide fan base. This needs to happen at some point.
4. GUNS N’ ROSES
This one could be tricky, mostly because halftime-show organizers don’t care for unpredictable types, and no one better personifies unpredictable than GN'R front man Axl Rose. But the band seems to have changed its ways of late. A reunion tour, which began last year and is scheduled to run through this fall, has been a big hit. The crowds are great, the band sounds crisp and, most important, Axl has allegedly been on his best behavior. If the band continues on as it has over the past year, GN'R certainly has more than enough hits to populate a rocking halftime set.
Widespread appeal. Charming and professional. Hits aplenty. A diverse catalog. So many potential collaborations. Drake literally checks every box for a Super Bowl halftime performer. Hard to see this one not taking place at some point in the next few years.
2. FOO FIGHTERS
How has this not happened already? Foo Fighters are generally regarded among the most beloved, accessible rock bands in the game today. They have numerous hits and are pretty much controversy-free. Plus, Dave Grohl might just be the nicest guy in rock. Hell, if the Red Hot Chili Peppers can play the Super Bowl Halftime Show, as they did three years ago, it’s a damn crime the Foo Fighters haven’t been afforded the same opportunity.
1. TAYLOR SWIFT
Taylor Swift is very famous. Taylor Swift has legions of fans around the globe. Taylor Swift, at some point, is going to release a new album. Taylor Swift will want to promote that album. Taylor Swift will do so by headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
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