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Michael Jackson changed the Super Bowl halftime game in 1993



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On “Man within the Mirror,” his 1988 No. 1 smash, Michael Jackson famously got down to “make that change.”

And after the King of Pop shot up from under and hit the stage at Tremendous Bowl XXVII 30 years in the past on Jan. 31, 1993, the halftime show would never be the same. Taking within the history-making second on the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, he remained frozen in a model pose — save for one fast flip of his head — for some 90 seconds.

“Michael mentioned to me, ‘Don’t cue my musicians till my arms go up and take away my glasses,’” Don Mischer — who produced and directed the halftime present — informed The Publish. “So he pops up, the gang’s going loopy, about 30 seconds goes by, and he doesn’t transfer. Now I’m within the [production] truck screaming, ‘Come on, Michael! Allow us to go, man, and provides us the cue!’ Lastly, his arms got here up, he touched his glasses, and we had been off and operating.”

Michael Jackson at 1993 Super Bowl.
Michael Jackson turned the Tremendous Bowl halftime present right into a blockbuster occasion in 1993.

Michael Jackson at the 1993 Super Bowl.
The King of Pop carried out a medley of a few of his best hits through the 1993 Tremendous Bowl halftime present.
Corbis through Getty Photos

Three a long time later, the Tremendous Bowl halftime present has by no means regarded again, reserving everybody from rock royalty akin to Prince and Bruce Springsteen (each of whom additionally labored with Mischer) to at the moment’s pop superstars together with Beyoncé and Rihanna — the “Umbrella” singer will headline this year’s big game on Feb. 12. However earlier than Jackson dominated the Rose Bowl — halfway by way of the Dallas Cowboys’ win over the Buffalo Payments — the halftime present was hardly must-see TV, that includes marching bands, drill groups and nonprofit teams akin to Up With Folks.

Actually, in 1992, viewers handed on the cornball “Winter Magic”-themed halftime present that includes determine skaters Dorothy Hamill and Brian Boitano and dancers dressed as snowflakes to look at a particular counterprogrammed episode of the sketch comedy “In Living Color.”

Michael Jackson at the 1993 Super Bowl.
Jackson initially requested that the 1993 Tremendous Bowl be pushed again three hours so he may carry out at night time. The NFL mentioned no.

“They flipped over to Fox, and the difficulty is that they by no means got here again [to CBS],” mentioned Mischer. “This was a serious wake-up name for the NFL. They realized {that a} Tremendous Bowl halftime present may not be filler in the midst of America’s premier soccer recreation.”

Decided to sort out its halftime-show downside, the NFL employed Radio Metropolis Music Corridor Productions to discover a massive title for the 1993 Tremendous Bowl, and in consequence booked Jackson on the peak of his pop reign. However MJ would solely conform to do it if Mischer produced and directed the present.

“Michael and I had achieved many exhibits collectively, together with ‘Motown 25,’ the place he first did the moonwalk,” mentioned Mischer. “However there was a whole lot of ‘Solely a sports activities director may direct this.’ And Michael, who actually knew find out how to get what he wished, mentioned, ‘Nope — Don’s gotta do it.’”

At Jackson's insistence, Don Mischer produced and directed the 1993 Super Bowl halftime show.
At Jackson’s insistence, Don Mischer produced and directed the 1993 Tremendous Bowl halftime present.

However there was one request that even Jackson was denied.

“I’ll always remember the primary assembly once we agreed to do that,” mentioned Mischer. “Michael comes into the room; he’s very light and pleasant. And the very first thing he mentioned was, ‘I’d like to maneuver the sport three hours [back] so my halftime present will be in darkness.’ And I mentioned to Michael, ‘That signifies that, within the Central and Jap time zones, it’s gonna be like midnight if we try this. So we are able to’t try this.’”

And though Jackson reportedly requested for $1 million to carry out, he — like each single halftime present headliner since — was not paid. “However,” Mischer famous, “Michael bought $35 or $40 million value of publicity.”

Mischer additionally warned Jackson about doing an excessive amount of of his trademark crotch-grabbing for the household viewers — though he did it anyway. ”I mentioned, ‘Be ready that you simply may get some some destructive suggestions on that.’”

Siedah Garrett and Michael Jackson in 1987.
Jackson and Siedah Garrett recorded “I Simply Can’t Cease Loving You” collectively earlier than she carried out with him on the 1993 Tremendous Bowl.
Getty Photos

Background singer Siedah Garrett — who had co-written “Man within the Mirror” and duetted with Jackson on “I Simply Can’t Cease Loving You” — was in the midst of the “Harmful” tour with him, however wasn’t notably pumped about enjoying the Tremendous Bowl.

“I wasn’t thrilled about it in any respect,” she mentioned. “I used to be like, ‘OK, we gotta do that. It’s a job.’ And it turned out to be a lot greater than that. I didn’t understand how particular it was.”

Rehearsing below an enormous tent within the Rose Bowl parking zone within the week main as much as the large recreation, Garrett mentioned that Jackson “wasn’t nervous — he was excited.” Nonetheless, he was properly conscious that soccer followers weren’t his regular crowd.

“He was frightened concerning the good ol’ boys and the way he was gonna come off to them,” mentioned Garrett. “He was extra involved about entertaining these soccer guys who had been simply there to see the sport, didn’t care who was on on the halftime present. They might often depart and go to the lavatory or do no matter. However no one left their seats with this halftime present.”

Michael Jackson at the 1993 Super Bowl.
The NFL booked Jackson for the 1993 Tremendous Bowl halftime present after shedding viewers to an “In Residing Shade” particular the earlier yr.

Certainly, Jackson’s set — which kicked off with “Jam” after which went into “Billie Jean,” “Black or White” and “We Are the World” earlier than ending with “Heal the World” — turned the Tremendous Bowl halftime present into its personal blockbuster occasion, marking the primary time that rankings elevated from the sport’s first half to its second half as viewers watched worldwide.

“The distinction between Michael Jackson’s performance on the Tremendous Bowl and everyone else’s earlier than him was that Michael’s turned international,” mentioned longtime MJ dancer/choreographer Travis Payne. “The entire world cared — not simply America.”

And when Beyoncé paid tribute to Jackson with an outfit honoring his Tremendous Bowl look in 2016, it was clear that the late icon’s legacy lives on 30 years after that historic second halfway by way of the Dallas Cowboys’ rout of the Buffalo Payments.

“Beyoncé, Janet — everybody after was conjuring up MJ,” mentioned Garrett. “It warms my coronary heart.”