Getty Images

One of the major non-football storylines that centers around the Super Bowl is the halftime show. These days, the halftime show is one of the most exciting performances of the year and is headlined by some of the biggest artists of all time. 

Last year, Rihanna took the stage at State Farm Stadium during Super Bowl LVII. Before that, five performers took the stage for Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, California: Eminem, Dr. Dre. Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige performed halfway through the Rams win over the Bengals

Usher headlined the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show in Las Vegas (airing on CBS and Paramount+) on Feb. 11. 

For the artists who play the halftime show at the Super Bowl, they're entertaining an audience that is exponentially bigger than any they've ever encountered. It was not always like that however. 

So, what were the shows like before they were must-see television? Do you remember that killer halftime show featuring the Rockettes, Chubby Checker and the 88 grand pianos in 1988? Do you remember the captivating "Be Bop Bamboozled" at the Orange Bowl in 1989? No, no you do not. Ditto Carol Channing (twice) or any one of those four annoyingly contrived Up With People performances in the late '70s and early '80s.

The Super Bowl halftime show, before Michael Jackson, was an endless wasteland of college marching bands and maddening flag-spinning tributes, from salutes to Hollywood (twice), to Motown, to the Big Band Era, to the Caribbean, to Duke Ellington. We also got the New Kids on the Block (1991) not singing any of their biggest hits and Gloria Estefan (1992) providing the soundtrack for Olympic figure skaters Dorothy Hamill and Brian Boitano of "What would Brian Boitano do?" fame, because nothing says a Minnesota Super Bowl like the lead singer of the Miami Sound Machine.

Then we got the King of Pop at the Rose Bowl in 1993 -- and the Super Bowl halftime show was never the same again.

Here is the complete list of previous Super Bowl halftime performers and themes:

  • 2024: Usher with special guests Alicia Keys, Jermaine Dupri, H.E.R., will.i.am, Lil Jon, Ludacris
  • 2023: Rihanna
  • 2022: Eminem, Dr. Dre. Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige
  • 2021: The Weeknd
  • 2020: Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Emme Muniz
  • 2019: Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Big Boi
  • 2018: Justin Timberlake, The Tennessee Kids
  • 2017: Lady Gaga
  • 2016: Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars
  • 2015: Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott
  • 2014: Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • 2013: Beyonce
Beyonce brings the heat in New Orleans. USATSI
  • 2012: Madonna
  • 2011: The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash
  • 2010: The Who
  • 2009: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
  • 2008: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • 2007: Prince and the Florida A&M marching band
Prince made it rain purple in Miami.  Getty Images
  • 2006: The Rolling Stones
  • 2005: Paul McCartney
  • 2004: Janet Jackson, Kid Rock, P. Diddy, Nelly and Justin Timberlake
  • 2003: Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting
  • 2002: U2
  • 2001: "The Kings of Rock and Pop" featuring Aerosmith, 'N'Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly
The world's biggest boy band and the Bad Boys of Boston share the Super Bowl stage.  Getty Images
  • 2000: "A Tapestry of Nations" featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and an 80-person choir
  • 1999: "Celebration of Soul, Salsa and Swing" featuring Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and tap dancer Savion Glover
  • 1998: "A Tribute to Motown's 40th Anniversary" including Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Martha Reeves and The Temptations
  • 1997: "Blues Brothers Bash" featuring Dan Akroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi (also featuring "The Godfather of Soul" James Brown and ZZ Top)
  • 1996: Diana Ross celebrating 30 years of the Super Bowl with special effects, pyrotechnics and stadium card stunt. Finale featured Diana Ross being taken from the stadium in a helicopter
Diana Ross performs at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Getty Images
  • 1995: "Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye" featuring Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval, the Miami Sound Machine and stunts including fire and skydivers. Finale included audience participation with light sticks
  • 1994: "Rockin' Country Sunday" featuring Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Wynonna & Naomi Judd. Finale included flashlight stunt
  • 1993: "Heal the World" featuring Michael Jackson and 3,500 local children. Finale included audience card stunt
Michael Jackson stares down the Rose Bowl.  Getty Images
  • 1992: "Winter Magic" including a salute to the winter season and the winter Olympics featuring Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill
  • 1991: "A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl" featuring New Kids on the Block
  • 1990: "Salute to New Orleans" and 40th Anniversary of Peanuts' characters, featuring trumpeter Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw & Irma Thomas
  • 1989: "Be Bop Bamboozled" featuring 3-D effects
  • 1988: "Something Grand" featuring 88 grand pianos, the Rockettes and Chubby Checker
  • 1987: "Salute to Hollywood's 100th Anniversary"
  • 1986: "Beat of the Future"
  • 1985: "A World of Children's Dreams"
  • 1984: "Super Bowl XVIII's Salute to the Superstars of the Silver Screen"
  • 1983: "KaleidoSUPERscope" (a kaleidoscope of color and sound)
  • 1982: "A Salute to the 60s and Motown"
  • 1981: "A Mardi Gras Festival"
  • 1980: "A Salute to the Big Band Era" with Up with People
  • 1979: "Super Bowl XIII Carnival" Salute to the Caribbean with Ken Hamilton and various Caribbean bands
  • 1978: "From Paris to the Paris of America" with Tyler Apache Belles, Pete Fountain and Al Hirt
  • 1977: "It's a Small World" including crowd participation for first time with spectators waving colored placards on cue
  • 1976: "200 Years and Just a Baby" Tribute to America's Bicentennial
  • 1975: "Tribute to Duke Ellington" with Mercer Ellington and Grambling State band
  • 1974: "A Musical America" with University of Texas band
  • 1973: "Happiness Is." with University of Michigan marching band and Woody Herman
  • 1972: "Salute to Louis Armstrong" with Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt and U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team
  • 1971: Florida A&M band
  • 1970: Carol Channing
  • 1969: "America Thanks" with Florida A&M University band
  • 1968: Grambling State band
  • 1967: University of Arizona and Grambling State marching bands