It has been 47 years of Super Bowl that within years has changed its entertainment from marching bands to top notch performers and adding Latins to its vast events.
The first Super Bowl on Jan. 15, 1967 played in Los Angeles was actually called First World Championship Game AFL vs. NFL. The entertainment consisted mainly of college bands, instead of popular singers and musicians as it was in current Super Bowls. The first Super Bowl halftime show featured American trumpeter Al Hirt and marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University.
Up until Super Bowl XXII in 1988, the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” was a non-vocal performance. The following Super Bowl year Billy Joel was the first vocalist to sing the national anthem and in 2011 at the XLV Super Bowl game the first Latin-American, pop singer Christina Aguilera, sang the national anthem.
It was not until the XXVI Super Bowl’s halftime show the first Latin-American performed, Cuban-American Gloria Estefan, during the “Winter Magic” halftime finale. Gloria performed at two more halftime shows in XXIX with Miami Sound Machine where jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval also participated. And in XXXIII at the halftime show titled “A Celebration of Soul, Salsa and Swing” where Gloria Estefan performed more than one song – “Oye”, “Turn the Beat Around”, and “You’ll Be Mine (Party Time)” in a special performance with Stevie Wonder. Gloria is the only Latin artist that has performed at the most Super Bowl game shows and pre-game events.
The first Latin group from another country at the XXXI pre-game show was Los del Río from Spain who performed their multi-platinum hit “Macarena.” The “Macarena” was the dance sensation that became a worldwide summer hit in 1996 but faded due to the group’s break up in 2007. It was no surprise that Latins were kept in mind to add to the Super Bowl entertainment as Christina Aguilera and Enrique Iglesias were invited to partake in Disney’s halftime show, “Tapestry of Nations”, during Super Bowl XXXIV in the year 2000.
In memory of 9/11, the XXXVI Super Bowl 2002 pre-game show salsa singer Marc Anthony and Mary J. Blige accompanied by the Boston Pops Orchestra performed “America the Beautiful”. The following year, Super Bowl XXXVII, Santana was the first Mexican born jazz artist to have his own pre-game show titled “Santana and Friends.” Santana was joined by Beyoncé and Michelle Branch to sing a medley of “Oye Como Va”, “The Game of Love”, and “Foo Foo.”
There was a lapse of four years of Latin entertainment at Super Bowl games – in 2007 Gloria Estefan introduced the pre-game show performers Louie Vega along with Cirque du Soleil and in 2011 Christina Aguilera returned to sing the national anthem for Super Bowl XLV.
Since 2011 no Latin artist has performed during Super Bowl pre-game or halftime shows. Instead numerous Latins were added to pre-game events with Jennifer Lopez being the first at MTV’s TLC event in 2001. Others added have been Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Nelly Furtado, Jenni Rivera, Chino y Nacho, Larry Hernandez, Alejandra Guzman, Paulina Rubio, Enrique Iglesias, Belanova, Angel y Khriz, Pitbull, Belinda, Camila, RBD and Dulce Maria.
In 2008 Pepsi organized Pepsi Música that until last year featured vast Latin music genres and artists mentioned above. Last year’s Pepsi Música Fan Jam featured Larry Hernandez and Alejandra Guzman. Don Omar was scheduled as well but cancelled at the last minute.
This year’s Latin presence is Pitbull who will be performing at two pre-game events – Rolling Stone Live Super Bowl party and DIRECTV’s Seventh Annual Celebrity Beach Bowl Bash.
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