Music News

Better Than Petty?: Hypothetical Super Bowl halftime shows

By Cole Haddon

With Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headlining Super Bowl XLII’s halftime show, we couldn’t help but wonder what other acts deserve the chance to play to one of the year’s biggest crowds. Of course, then also we got to wondering about what rare duets (or triplets) the event could motivate, especially after such great team-ups as Aerosmith and Britney Spears and Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (which, okay, ended poorly). Here’s what we came up with.

Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Hank Jr. Call this the working-class hero category. It’s hard to believe Bon Jovi hasn’t taken the stage at halftime yet, but, as the show’s organizers turn more and more to legends of rock like the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, the Boss’s absence is shaping up into an embarrassing mystery. Throw Hank “Are you ready for some football?!” Williams Jr. into the mix, and this Super Bowl halftime show has already gone down in history as one of the best.

AC/DC, Van Halen, and Foo Fighters Three generations of guitar rock on one stage. The Super Bowl might be in Phoenix this year, but had they gone with this trio instead of Petty and his Heartbreakers, fans would’ve been cheering over the collective guitar solos as far away as Long Island.

My Chemical Romance, Queen, and Robbie Williams My Chemical Romance might seem an odd choice for a headliner, but they take the top slot because Freddie Mercury is dead and Queen is consequently without a permanent frontman. That’s where Robbie Williams, one of the few singers in the world who can perform with the gravitas of Mercury, comes in. Pair the Williams-fronted Queen with Queen-style arena rockers My Chemical Romance, and you have a fireworks-filled extravaganza that people will be watching from all four corners of the globe.

AC/DC guitarist Angus Young: He could rock the jocks.

Madonna, Alice Cooper, and Eminem Three monsters of shock, all hailing from Detroit. They might not match on paper, but spiritually, Madonna, Cooper, and Slim Shady are next of kin to each other.

Tina Turner, Fall Out Boy, and Jay-Z Tina Turner is arguably the greatest female stage rocker in history. Fall Out Boy have transformed themselves from oft-dismissed emo rockers into arena rock gods with a passion for Turner-sized choruses. Toss in Jay-Z, one of the best hip-hop artists of his generation, and you’ve got Turner dueting with Patrick Stump on a Fall Out Boy cover of “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” capped by an original third verse, in which Jay serenades the influential diva with some freestyle. We’d pay good money to see that.

Tina Turner: What's football got to do with it? Really?

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea