Last year’s Super Bowl made history as the most watched television event of all time. Nearly 120 million people tuned in for the part of the event that had nothing to do with football: the halftime show.
Perhaps the entertainment event of the year, this grand spectacle is so compelling and important that, in 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that the NFL was asking the world’s top entertainers to pay them for the right to play the show. But as the above video of the very first Super Bowl halftime show (from 1967) reveals, things used to be much, much different.
The early Super Bowls, which drew significantly less press and prominence than even some college football games, initially recruited college marching bands to perform at halftime. By the 1970s, the Super Bowl began to build a reputation, and notable musicians and singers, including Ella Fitzgerald and Carol Channing, began performing during halftime.
But, in 1991, when New Kids On The Block (then one of the most popular boy bands in the world) was the headliner, the show had experienced a complete makeover. From that point on, the show included nothing but top-selling artists, including Michael Jackson, Prince, and Aerosmith.
All of this couldn’t be more different from the first Super Bowl halftime show, whose big acts were a jazz trumpeter you’ve never heard of and 300 pigeons.