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Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows

Performances To Remember

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When the Super Bowl began in 1967, the halftime entertainment was traditional marching band performances. However, in the 1990s the halftime shows began to drift toward showcasing pop and rock music. Today it is an opportunity to present one of the world's top musical acts.

10. The Rolling Stones - "Start Me Up" - Super Bowl XL 2006

The Rolling Stones at the Super Bowl
Photo by Theo Wargo / Getty Images

The Rolling Stones may have shown their age a bit, but they still know how to rock. Television censors were nervous during this performance, and having bits cut was nothing unfamiliar for the Rolling Stones. On "Start Me Up" it was not approved language to sing the line, "You make a dead man cum." The censors eliminated the last word.

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9. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - "Free Falling" - Super Bowl XLII 2008

Tom Petty at the Super Bowl
Photo by Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Super Bowl performances are not particularly known for their quiet moments. However, the sea of lighters that greeted Tom Petty's performance of "Free Falling" just might generate a few chills. The song proves perfect for a massive stadium singalong.

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8. Diana Ross - Hits Medley - Super Bowl XXX 1996

Diana Ross at the Super Bowl
Photo by Al Bello / Getty Images

Diana Ross is the ultimate diva, and she came to the Super Bowl to prove that fact. From rising on a gold "mountain" for "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to literally taking flight in a helicopter for the climax of "Take Me Higher," Diana Ross brought all of the glamor and spectacle her legendary career commands.

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7. No Doubt and Sting - "Message In a Bottle" - Super Bowl XXXVII 2003

Gwen Stefani and Sting at the Super Bowl
Photo by Donald Miralle / Getty Images">

In 2003 Gwen Stefani had not yet launched a solo career. However, when she joined Sting on stage to sing one of his songs from the years with the Police, she proved she could easily hold her own while her No Doubt bandmates played in the background. This was a moment of magical chemistry on the Super Bowl stage.

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6. Bruce Springsteen - "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" - Super Bowl XLIII 2009

Bruce Springsteen at the Super Bowl
Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images

The silhouette of Bruce Springsteen and saxophone player Clarence Clemons that opens this performance is quite poignant in light of the recent death of the "big man." Bruce Springsteen wants you to "step away from the guacamole dip and put the chicken fingers down" while he's on stage performing. "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" climaxes with a slide right into the camera.

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5. Michael Jackson - "Heal the World" - Super Bowl XXVII 1993

Michael Jackson at the Super Bowl
Photo by George Rose / Getty Images

Michael Jackson was in the midst of his Dangerous world tour when he took the stage at Super Bowl XXVII. Surrounded by thousands of children this plea for making the world a better place has never seemed more powerful. The audience is filled with cards depicting the world's children, and just when you think the production has no way to top what has gone on before, a massive inflated globe rises as the melodies surge.

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4. Paul McCartney - "Live and Let Die" - Super Bowl XXXIX 2005

Paul McCartney at the Super Bowl
Photo by Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

If there was ever a song made for a stadium performance, it is Paul McCartney's classic "Live and Let Die." The legendary Beatle took the stage to help the Super Bowl recover from the previous year's "wardrobe malfunction" debacle. Paul McCartney did not disappoint. "Live and Let Die" gets the full pyrotechnic display the song deserves.

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3. Aerosmith and Friends - "Walk This Way" - Super Bowl XXXV 2001

Aerosmith and Britney Spears at the Super Bowl
Photo by Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" provided the backdrop for a fun-filled gathering of a who's who of pop music in 2001. Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, *NSYNC, and Nelly all take their turns in the spotlight. Steven Tyler is in fine form, and it is certainly a moment to remember when they all strut back and forth across the stage to the strains of "Walk This Way."

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2. Prince - "Purple Rain" - Super Bowl XLI - 2007

Prince at the Super Bowl
Photo by Theo Wargo / Getty Images

His hit making days may have been behind him, but that didn't stop Prince from bringing his full purple majesty to the Super Bowl in 2007. Rain did nothing to get in the way. It's a toss up whether the finale "Purple Rain" or the opener "Let's Go Crazy" is the key moment. Prince remains one of pop's most riveting and creative stage performers of all time.

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1. U2 - "Where the Streets Have No Name" - Super Bowl XXXVI 2002

U2 at the Super Bowl
Photo by Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

It was the first Super Bowl following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. U2 came to the event not as an Irish rock band, but as citizens of the world to help the healing process in America. Bono sings the words of a song about the all conquering power of love while the names of those who perished in the tragedy scroll behind. Few moments have been more moving than when he opens his jacket to reveal the US flag sewn into the lining.

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