Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows

Ranking the best Super Bowl halftime shows is a subjective and predictable (and pointless) exercise. But let’s do it anyway. Just as the Super Bowl game on the field has changed over the years and gotten bigger (and sometimes better), so too has the halftime show.

In the early days, when the league and game itself were not as big as they are today, the halftime shows were simple marching-band extensions of regular football games. As the years passed, they added occasional singers like Ella Fitzgerald and such pop celebrities as Carol Channing (twice). The Super Bowl Halftime Show as we know it today was not quite a “thing” yet.

As late as the 1980s, it was still just marching bands and Up With People performing salutes to random themes. (According to one of the great first lines on all of Wikipedia, “Up with People is an education organization whose stated mission is to bridge cultural barriers and create global understanding through service and a musical show.”) One year it was a “Salute to the Stars of the Silver Screen.” Just three years later, the theme was “Salute to the 100th Anniversary of Hollywood” (with George Burns, Mickey Rooney, and Disney characters). Other years they would salute the big-band era and “the 1960s and Motown.” In fact, they would even haphazardly combine tributes, as if some board-room decision had ended in a tie:  the 1990 theme was “Salute to New Orleans and the 40th Anniversary of Peanuts.”

Then Michael Jackson and, 11 years later, Janet Jackson changed how we view the Super Bowl halftime show.

10.) JANET JACKSON (w/ JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE)
SB XXXVIII – Feb 1, 2004 – Reliant Stadium (Houston, TX)
Unfortunately, nothing written about Super Bowl halftime shows is complete without mentioning perhaps the most famous, or infamous, halftime show. Sadly its pop-culture significance will keep it on lists like this forever. Oh, you don’t remember this one? At the end of the performance, Justin Timberlake ripped off a piece of Janet’s, uh, wardrobe and revealed most of her bare breast. This was called “nipplegate” even though Miss Jackson made sure her nipple was covered. She showed about the same amount of her body as an average beer commercial by an Official NFL Beer Sponsor. But it was such an outrage to see that for 2 seconds on live TV that all the news and media outlets spent at least a week editorializing on just how awful and classless it was… all while showing a still photo of said exposed breast. This led to several years of only aging male classic rockers performing at the Super Bowl.

9.) DIANA ROSS
SB XXX – Jan 28, 1996 – Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, AZ)
Underrated and possibly forgotten performance, but Diana Ross was up to the task and capably worked through a medley of 10 (ten!) hits. Don’t sleep on the classics.

8.) BRUNO MARS (w/ RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS)
SB XLVIII – Feb 2, 2014 – Reliant Stadium (Houston, TX)
Okay, younger artist with some hits but not quite the household name with some older viewers. By any measure, Bruno Mars nailed his performance. He can sing, he can dance, he can open the show with a drum solo, he brings a horn section, and then he has the Chili Peppers pop out of the stage floor to “givitaway givitaway give it away now.” Exhilarating and professional performance.

7.) ROLLING STONES
SB XL – Feb 5, 2006 – Ford Field (Detroit, MI)
At this point, the Rolling Stones are just game managers. Rock royalty just needs to show up, play a few hits, and fill the stadium with classic riffs. Oh, and do it on a stage shaped like the Stones’ lips/tongue logo.

6.) TOM PETTY & the HEARTBREAKERS
SB XLII – Feb 3, 2008 – University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, AZ)
Sandwiched around Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers solid (if unspectacular) performance of hits was the Patriots-Giants “Helmet Catch” game: a truly great Super Bowl, as well as a huge upset of an undefeated team. We don’t need always need guest rappers or genre-bending collaborations. (Aerosmith-Britney-N’Sync? No thanks.) Petty and his underrated band have been a radio staple for decades. Capable rock bands with good songs are like balanced football teams with good offensive lines.

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How to Fix Van Halen

VanHalen_OnKimmel_
Perhaps you saw Van Halen on your TV recently gracing the stage at Jimmy Kimmel Live and the Ellen Show, fronted by a gum-chomping, ink-covered old singer and just shook your head. More likely, you clicked a link to watch one of the appearances online after the fact and maybe X’d out of it in disappointment at how The Mighty Van Halen has fallen.

What’s wrong with Van Halen in 2015? Well, first off, they seem to not have a promotional/PR team (or social media presence). In fact, a random slip-up by a Canadian DJ, followed by tireless “internet research” by members of the VHLinks message board, followed by “confirmation” from Billboard and Rolling Stone (citing sources that sited “internet chatter”) is how word of their upcoming live album first leaked (confirmed by the band a month later with those TV appearances).

That brings us to what else is wrong with Van Halen in 2015: they are just now finally releasing their first live album with iconic front man David Lee Roth and it’s a 2013 show (with no BluRay/DVD companion). Still no classic shows from the vaults.

So the problem with Van Halen isn’t just that they are old, although they are that. But old age has treated the Bruce Springsteens and Paul McCartneys of the world just fine. Van Halen has fallen down the next step: they’ve made themselves irrelevant. Since their heyday(s) with both Roth and his successor Sammy Hagar, they’ve brought both back for reunion tours of varying success and mostly wallowed in inactivity, save for the 2012 studio album they made with Roth (with Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang replacing Michael Anthony on bass).

But while other rock bands (from Van Halen contemporaries like Rush to disciples like Pearl Jam) have almost all released live DVDs from tours old and new, along with remasters with bonus tracks, Van Halen has been curiously silent and their remasters offer no previously unreleased material. Time to change that. Time to restore the greatest American rock band back atop the throne of stardom and glory. Time to fix Van Halen.  Continue reading →

A List Of TV Shows That You Should Watch

tvI watch way too much TV. Anyone within earshot of me on a daily basis probably thinks that I spend all of my free time watching television shows and then recapping them with friends and co-workers. To some degree this is true. I believe we are (still) in “The Golden Age Of Television” (a term I did not make up but one that critics generally refer to as anything that’s been put on TV since The Sopranos first aired. If you ask me, it started with HBO’s Oz, but I won’t rock the boat on this one). I have nothing against non-TV watchers, I just want you to know that you are missing out on some quality programming these days.

With the rise of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Go, iTunes, etc. binge watching has replaced good old fashion week-to-week anticipation. Cliffhanger ended the last episode? Don’t want to wait a week (or a year) to see who killed off your favorite character? Simply click the “Next Episode” button and binge away. Netflix even goes as far as releasing every episode of its shows seasons at once. Anticipation be damned!

Online recaps are as abundant as Starbucks and McDonald’s. Noted publications/sites from The New Yorker to Rolling Stone run endless stories, interviews, recaps, discussions, and podcasts about popular television series. The most recent season debut of The Walking Dead drew over 16 million viewers (to put that into perspective, there are around 300 million people in the US. 16+ million of them are watching a show about zombies). I am one of those 16 million viewers and I watch–and have watched–a ton of television series in my day (mostly dramas). Way too much some would say.

You might be very apprehensive when it comes to deciding which series to watch first–since there are so many good choices out there. Even if you missed the initial run of The West Wing you can easily binge through all its seasons online. But should you watch that or catch up on Mad Men? Is True Blood worth diving into? How many seasons behind am I? You hear “everyone” talking about how great these shows are and you’re kinda interested in them but don’t know where to start. I equate it with how I feel when I walk into a really good music store (yes, some do still exist!): I am overwhelmed with having to narrow down my choices in order make a selection. When I sift through 80 Zappa records trying to figure out which one to buy, how do I know which one to begin with?

So lucky for you (I think?) I am here to write you a list of what I feel are excellent television series that you should watch. This is not a list of the “best shows ever” in some arbitrary order (I mean, how could I say The Wire is better than The Sopranos or vice-versa? I can’t!).  I am purposefully not putting numbers in here because I cannot rank them in terms of greatness.

The following list contains my personal favorites when it comes to great television.  I hope that if there is a series on this list you have not watched–or have been tempted to watch–that my brief explanation(s) of the show(s) might intrigue you enough to get started. (Note: I did my best to not include any spoilers.)

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Songs I Wish I Wrote: “If I Had A Heart”

Every now and again a new artist I have never heard before comes across my musical radar. More often than not, it’s either a friend or co-worker who turns me on to something. “You need to check out [insert name here] because I really think you will like them.” Other times it might be that I have read something about them or heard one of their songs on the TV/radio/movie. I discovered Jeff Buckley via The West Wing, got turned on to The Stones “Thru and Thru” via The Sopranos, and just recently during the Season 4 episode “Open House” on Breaking Bad I discovered the artist Fever Ray and her song “If I Had A Heart”.  Just like Buckley on WW or The Stones on The Sopranos, the song was used perfectly to project a certain mood of the scene.  It had me at hello.

Fever Ray is the solo project of Karen Dreijer Andersson (from Swedish duo The Knife). Before this episode aired, I had never heard one note of The Knife or Fever Ray, though I had seen the names in various places over the past year or two. It’s hard for me to separate the song from the scene at this point. If you watch Breaking Bad then you already know what the show is all about. If you don’t watch it, let’s just say the song sounds like what one of the characters was going through during this particular moment of the show: intense dread.

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TV on the Radiohead: The King of Limbs

radiohead

Good. Band.

I have DirecTV and there is channel called Palladia that often shows a variety of live musical performances. The following is a running diary of my initial viewing of “From The Basement: Radiohead: The King of Limbs.” Basically, it’s Radiohead performing in a recording studio with no viewable audience.

“Bloom”
Right off the bat it’s awesome. We got Portishead alum Clive Deamer rocking the drum pads and Jonny Greenwood on the snares, couple of horn players, and an oddly syncopated structure. Love the freakin bass line on this. Sounds like something off a Coltrane record. How in the hell do these guys do it? Guess now I can watch and see.

“Daily Mail”
Starts as a classic Radiohead piano ballad, which means I love it, cause the Neil fan in me always has a soft spot for em. I fall for them every time. How I would love to be able to switch up instruments each song, add some extra musicians to jam with, and make it all work practically flawlessly.

“Feral”
Just turned it up even more, low-end is deep on it. I think im watching what might have happened if Floyd never broke up.

“Little By Little”
Have to say I love their usage of the dual drummer/electro-instrumentalist. What if you could make one person play as an entire band? Like those one-man bands you’d see at Great Adventure. I suppose that’s called a DJ.  I also just started thinking about how it’s really gotten to the point where you can’t describe what Radiohead sounds like. Their influences are all over the place and they really don’t sound like any other band, current or past.

“Codex”
This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Ok, I’ll admit it, the band does sometimes tend to look on the somber side at points during this particular segment, but what do you want them to do during an intro like that? Jump up and down? Let’s just chalk it up as a result of the intensity it must feel like to perform in Radiohead. At any point do you think Ed O’Brien thinks to himself:  “holy shit, were fuckin good!”

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Halftime Speech

Coach Eric Taylor

You don't want to disappoint the coach, do you?

We were getting ready for a show down against conference rival the Arnett-Mead Tigers.  Coach was standing over us after every drill.  After every missed tackle he began to ask us to search deep in our soul as to whether or not we wanted victory.

He was looking to motivate us.  He wanted us to challenge ourselves in order to prove that we had it within ourselves to defeat our rivals in battle on gridiron. After every whistle he bated our egos.

***TWEET***
“Are we not clear that in five days a group of men are gonna be comin down here to try and destroy you? Is that not… is that not clear?”
***TWEET***
“These same men are gonna be comin down here and they are gonna use everything they have to hurt you.”
***TWEET***
“They’re gonna attempt to do this in front of your mothers, in front of your fathers, in front of you brothers, in front of your sisters.”

Despite every question of our abilities and desire on the coaches part we could feel our confidence growing.  There was no way in H-E-double hockey sticks were those fucking pussies from Arnett-Mead going to beat us.  Friday night, come H-E-double hockey sticks or high water we were not going to lose to those no good bastard sons of mongrel dogs.

Fast forward – it is half time and the score board is reflecting the domination being dispensed at the hands of our opponents.  Despite all of the hard work we had put in as a team our efforts thus far on the field have been less than spectacular.  Despite coaches warnings earlier in the week we did not head his words as the Tigers had, thus far, come to destroy us and after two quarters of play they were doing their best to defeat us soundly with the score marked at 17-0 for the bad guys.

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Welcome to Bums Logic

We’re proud to announce and welcome you to BUMS LOGIC, a new online-magazine styled blog, mostly about music, featuring original articles by Steve (Jaded Bitterman), Todd (Todd.Levinson.Frank), Victor (Jr. Worthy), Bill (Lennsakata), Bear, Mike-Eddy, and other special guests. This loose collective has been collaborating on music, film, writing, art, and brewing on and off (we try to always be on) for the last 20 years, and now we plan to throw it all in a digital blender for public viewing.

The concept isn’t necessarily to have all the latest links to news, performances, or downloads, or blurbs about blurbs. Our hope is that it will be a place to read some (hopefully) thought-provoking stuff about music, film, sports, television, politics, books, art, technology, and culture. Maybe we’ll have a few laughs and maybe you’ll write for us someday too.

We call it a magazine, mostly as a nod to the not-too-distant past when we held stuff in our hands, not just the magazines, but the albums and tapes and CD’s they wrote about. While still essentially a blog (and BUMS LOGIC is an anagram for “music blog”), we’ll try to write our own jokes and do our own stunts.

Please visit us today, check out what we have going so far, and bookmark the site so you can check back in. Also, we’d be eternally grateful if you share our link on facebook, twitter, and wherever else you share cool webstuff. In return, we’ll try our best to be cool webstuff.

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