Music Fun Fact #9,358: The Super Bowl Brings Out The Worst In Performers

I don’t watch football. There, I said it. I’ve been roped nearly every year into joining the national phenomenon known as the Super Bowl. This involves eating nachos, drinking beer, and commenting on overproduced commercials. In between all of this, there’s a game that takes way too long. (Also, every year I inevitably relearn the Roman Numerals. They’re outdated and useless in every situation other than the Super Bowl.)

However, I’m not here to discuss any of that. I’m discussing the little known fact that the Super Bowl Halftime Show has rarely brought out anything but the worst in people.

Let me count the Top 5 worst incidents.

5.  Bruce Springsteen, Super Bowl XLIII, 2009: The crotch slide.

I should say, I love The Boss. He’s made innumerable amazing songs, so many, in fact, that he deserves to get away with murder. But this was not his best moment. This was not anyone’s best moment.

4.  Aerosmith, ‘N Sync, and Britney Spears, Super Bowl XXXV, 2001: The game changer.

Nothing would give Aerosmith more street cred than joining the likes of the fabulous ‘N Sync and Britney Spears for a rousing and not-at-all staged version of “Walk This Way”. This performance led these artists to seriously reevaluate their career decisions. ‘N Sync soon broke up after, well, deciding they suck. Britney Spears got married, got divorced, shaved her head, got large, and then got skinny again. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith decided to make the largest move: he joined American Idol.

At least they all stopped singing for a while.

3.  The Black Eyed Peas, Super Bowl XLV, 2011:  Tron Re-lived

I really don’t know what’s worse: the fact that they dressed like robots were expected to look like from shows that occurred in the 70s, the fact that I watched more than 30 seconds of it to “research” this post, or that these lyrics happened:

“I got that boom boom pow, them chickens jockin’ my style
They try to copy my swagger, I’m on that next shit now
I’m so three thousand and eight, you so two thousand and late
I got that boom boom boom, that future boom boom boom”

“Boom Boom Pow” (from The E.N.D.)

2.  Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, XXXVIII, 2004: Nipplegate

Yup. Next.

1.  Elvis Presto, Super Bowl XXIII, 1989:  Umm…WHAT!?

Yes people, this happened. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this. Apparently someone thought an Elvis impersonator would make a great halftime performance for a couple hundred million people to see. Did I mention it was in 3-D?


Music Fun Fact #371: Jack White Fights the Guinness World Records and Loses

During The White Stripes’ short-lived, yet brilliant career, the band has had more than its share of eccentricities. There’s the red, white, and black color scheme. There’s the strange relationship between Jack and Meg White. (Are they brother and sister? Are they married?  Turns out they were married, but divorced in 2000.)

But none is stranger than their epic quest in 2007 to play a show in every province of Canada.

Jack and Meg played in buses, bowling alleys, cruises, old folks homes…you get the idea. And they ended this mighty achievement with the greatest show of all: the one-note show in Newfoundland, the last province they needed to get Canadian BINGO.

The reason for a one note show was quite simple. Jack wanted to achieve the shortest concert in history and be placed alongside the pantheon of heroes listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. For instance, there’s the dude with the longest mohawk, the girl with the Hello Kitty armada (does anyone else think they’re going to come alive at night in some disturbing horror movie fashion?), and the guy with the fastest four-limbed 100 meter dash. And those are just the Japanese heroes!

So, here’s the famous one note concert:

From the reaction of the audience, it seems most people knew that the concert would be very, very short. Most were appreciative of The White Stripes paying them a visit. Yet you have to feel for the one guy who paid good money to buy a ticket from a scalper to come see the show buy himself. This is the guy without any friends who wanted to join him. Without any girlfriend to join him either. Unknowing of the situation, he gets there three hours before the concert to get a view right by the stage. The band gets on. He jumps up and down. They play one note. He gets excited for a second note. They leave. The guy, let’s call him Joe Canada, is confused. He looks around at people clapping. He yells out, “play ‘Effect and Cause'”. Nothing. The fans go home. He cries. He waits two hours for a potential encore. Nothing. It starts to rain. He goes home. He creates a Jack White dartboard. He throws darts and plots his revenge. He becomes a Nickelback fan to spite good music.

I feel sorry for Joe Canada.

On the Jack White front, all is well for a while. Then Jack White finds out that the Guinness World Records robs The White Stripes of its place in history! He starts a small war with them, calling them a “very elitist organization”, which makes sense of course because only an elitist organization would have the guy with the largest nose in their records.  Jack White loses the war.

The good news is there’s a moral to this story. If you’re going to play a concert, play for longer than one note.

You never know when a Joe Canada might strike.

Music Fun Fact #7,815: Dylan’s Non-Paranoia Too Much for the Ed Sullivan Show

May 12, 1963.

Bob Dylan (the man who wrote the second best version of “Mr. Tambourine Man”) was scheduled to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show.  These were the dark days in the long, long ago.  Back in a world that had not heard of Bob Dylan. Before “Like a Rolling Stone”, “The Times They Are A-Changin”, or even “Blowin in the Wind’. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album came out in May 27,1963…fifteen days later. Fifteen days until an album that would set the world on fire.

On May 12, 1963 though, he was just some kid that came from nowhere and was headed perhaps nowhere. He was a 21 year old Woody Guthrie fanatic. He’d had one album nearly completely filled with covers, with nothing special to show for it. Obviously, this would all change in one of the most dramatic can-you-believe-this-actually-happened sort of ways in music history.

But this was before then.

And the boy must have needed money. He was scheduled to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show and had, in radical folk-singer fashion, decided to perform a humorous song dissecting the ultra-conservative anti-communist John Birch Society. The song in question–“Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues”–would see its first official release decades later on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare and Unreleased. Apparently “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Masters of War,” or “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” (all on his forthcoming album) weren’t good enough.

Well, the good people at CBS decided this particular 21 year old had written a particular song that didn’t cater to their particular audience. For context, this was back in a time when McCarthyism was still considered a reasonable idea by some. Back when men were men and people were stupid.

CBS staffers requested Dylan to play another ditty. He  refused this request. Ultimately, Dylan walked away from the opportunity, retaining his dignity along with his unknown status. CBS went on to make classic sitcoms like “Two and a Half Men”, while Dylan went on to make classic songs like “Visions of Johanna”, “Tangled up in Blue” and “Not Dark Yet”. Apparently catering to CBS wasn’t on Dylan’s agenda.

Granted, neither was catering to his audience.

Music Fun Fact #3,452: Keith Richards Falls Off a Tree

So you’ve heard the hits.  Sympathy for the Devil.  Brown Sugar.  (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.  The list goes on and on.  England’s Hitmakers have really been on a roll for a while.  They never grow old.  From the 60s to the 70s, those sex-loving, party-swinging, heroin-injecting, incest-having (get to that later), guitar-driving rockers conquered the world, one hit after another.  It was like nothing could stop them.  They were that bulldozer, breaking down the musical landscape and reinventing it as their own.  Invincible you could say.  But then…

Then came the tree.

And with it, all hell broke loose.

In 2006, during an otherwise relaxing early summer vacation with his family in Fiji, Keith Richards was minding his own business.  Probably getting the newspaper, injecting some heroin, taking Viagra, fooling around with his hot trophy wife, you know, the usual.  After having his servants make him a cup of tea, and ordering them to accompany it with his favorite happy song, “Happy”, he must have decided to take an early morning stroll across the island.

As an older man, I’m sure he was excited just to be alive, seeing the sights and sounds of the great island.

Fiji- Aerial View

He was probably hearing the hummingbirds sing, seeing the waves crash, feeling the wind against his old bones, when he heard the rustling of leaves.  He then looked around and wondered where it came from.  There in front of him was the giant tree, at least 10 feet tall!

He stared for a while and pondered to himself, “Well young lad, I believe this would be a mighty fine tree to climb as we did back in the old days.”  (Whenever Keith Richards ponders anything, he talks to himself as if he were having a conversation.  Some might say he needs medical attention.)  Keith replied to himself, “Ah good sir, I do believe you are right.  I best be climbing!”

Then he began the treacherous tree climb that will forever be called the “Richard’s Death Climb”.  After a few minutes, he was about to reach the top (all of 10 feet high), when he noticed a little bird at the top.

Then came the following conversation with the evil bird that led to his near death:

“Why hello little one, pleased to meet you.”

“Why don’t you look like a happy birdie?

“You’re so pretty, I think I’m going to pick you up and take you home with me.”

“Here I go…wait…ahhhhhhh!”

Poor old Richards forgot he needed both hands on the tree to stay up and after attempting to pick up the bird, taking his hands off the tree, he fell.  Richards went down, because after all, you can’t always get what you want.  He survived, but was never the same.

And so ends the story of the famous “Richard’s Death Climb”.  He learned a valuable lesson.  If you’re an aging rock star with severe mental disabilities due to decades snorting and injecting anything in sight, climbing a tree might not be how to get your rocks off.

In summary:

Keith Richards   Plus_sign equals-sign-e1306797769988  pirate_skull_and_bones_clip_art_19103

In case you don’t believe me, here’s the article.


“I don’t have a drug problem.  I have a police problem.”

– Keith Richards

Divine intervention is the only rationale I see for how Richards has survived this long.