Top 5 greatest Super Bowl halftime shows

See also: Super Bowl commercials: Elton John, Flava Flav, Echo and the Bunnymen and more and Video: M.I.A. flips off Super Bowl audience during halftime show

Judging by the voluminous groans echoing across the country, word is spreading that Madonna will be headlining the Super Bowl halftime show, alongside Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.

Coincidentally, ahem, both women are featured on Madonna's new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin'," the video of which premiered just a bit ago, and the decision to give the trio top billing for halftime reeks of either "synergistic" corporate marketing or someone's truly epic fail in the decision making department.

This could be the worst thing to happen to halftime since New Kids On The Block took the honor from Carol Channing in 1991. Rather than think too deeply on the bizarre cultural mashup that is about to be unleashed amidst America's two most important halves of football, we'd recommend distracting yourself with memories of better times. Choose from one of the best halftime shows ever and use it as a substitute for this year's spectacle.

Top 5 greatest Super Bowl halftime shows

5. University of Arizona & University of Michigan Marching Bands, with the Anaheim High School Drill Team, 1967 Despite the fact that this was the first ever meeting between the best teams from the AFC and NFC, it wasn't even a sell out crowd. The people that could've filled those seats missed out. The inaugural Super Bowl halftime show was a shocker, featuring not one marching band, but two! It was a feat so stupendous they didn't even attempt it again the following year. Two marching bands and a high school drill team from Anaheim. Can you imagine something so simple gracing one of the nation's biggest stages now? This was an unprecedented event, but it wasn't designed to entertain millions of TV viewers; just the crowd in the stadium who were waiting for the pep talks to end and the game to resume.

4. In Living Color (Live), 1992 Technically not a band, or even an officially sanctioned Super Bowl halftime event, the Wayans' sketch comedy show aired a live broadcast on Fox in direct competition with CBS's scheduled Super Bowl XXVI halftime show. The Wayans deserve a medal of honor for offering a much-needed alternative to that year's official halftime entertainment, which starred figure skating champions Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill (WTF?!). While it wasn't the first competitor to launch a ratings assault against the official halftime show, it was probably the most direly needed. The episode also scores extra points for Damon Wayan's prescient "wardrobe malfunction" during the "Men on Football" sketch.

3. Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P.Diddy, Kid Rock and Nelly, 2004 Surprised this isn't #1? Come on. Besides adding "wardrobe malfunction" to the American lexicon, this wasn't exactly the best show ever. Yeah, there were theatrics, excellent production design and a sense of relevance sorely missing from subsequent years (in order to avoid additional scandal and FCC fines), but this wasn't the best year ever (except for the fraction of a second for which it will forever be remembered). Who knew Diddy, Kid Rock and Nelly were there too? That's not a good sign. If you really want to have your mind blown, think about the fact that Nelly and Carol Channing are tied for the most individual appearances during Super Bowl halftime shows (two each).


2. Michael Jackson, 1993 The King of Pop was introduced by none other than the voice of James Earl Jones bellowing across the stadium. In a puff of smoke, MJ's on top of the Jumbotron busting a move. Then, suddenly, he's across the stadium. Pyrotechnics, illusions, wild screaming, on-stage costume changes, wailing guitar solos, wind machines and costumes that would've made Qaddafi blush -- this is the essence of pageantry. Even with the new nose, he proceeds to destroy "Billie Jean" and "Black or White" before 3,500 children from Los Angeles come out and present drawings to help heal the world. Okay, maybe the last part was weird, all things considered...but this was still an awesome halftime show.

1.Prince and the Florida A&M Marching Band, 2007 You can't front on Prince. Not now. Not ever. He came out and used four guitars during his thirteen-minute set just because he could. It was raining that night, but that didn't stop him. Electrocution be damned. Prince is a badass. He covered "We Will Rock You" and "All Along the Watchtower" before shutting the place down with "Purple Rain." What!? The only way this could've been better was if it wasn't raining on all cameras so you could see how clearly Prince was killing it. The Bears vs. Colts game wasn't even good (unless you're a Colts fan, in which case, it's the last good thing that happened to you). This earns the top honor because Roger Goodell should've come down from his box and called off the rest of the game so that Prince could continue rocking.

Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music

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