Prince Headlined the Super Bowl Halftime Show After Giving a Concert in His Living Room
Prince’s Super Bowl halftime show might be considered by some to be the best Super Bowl halftime show of all time. But how did he land the gig? The NFL selects performers. In Prince’s case, he gave a surprise concert in his living room to perform at the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show.
Prince had executives over for dinner to discuss the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show
After Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s infamous Super Bowl halftime show in 2004, the NFL got more involved in the process. That’s how Prince ended up having NFL executives over for dinner at his home in 2006.
As John Meglen, Concerts West co-president and Prince tour promoter told The Ringer in January 2020, the late David Saltz, who worked for the NFL and ABC, asked him and his colleague Paul Gongaware if Prince would be interested in doing the halftime show.
“Prince finally told Paul and I, ‘Bring this guy David Saltz over to the house for dinner,’’ Meglen recalled. So they did. They arrived at Prince’s Los Angeles home with Saltz in tow. Meanwhile, Prince had a surprise waiting.
The ‘Purple Rain’ singer critiqued past halftime show performances before giving a concert in his living room
“We had a little meal, just the four of us,” Meglan said. “At the end of the meal, Prince reached down, and he had a little portable DVD player because that’s what you had at the time. We weren’t going online at that point.”
“He had a bunch of the previous Super Bowl halftimes,” Meglan continued. “And he basically was critiquing them, saying, ‘This was good but I wouldn’t have done this.’”
At that point, Saltz asked Prince what he would do. “He looked at Saltz, and in his normal Prince way, said, ‘Sir, follow me, please,’’ Meglan recalled.
So they followed Prince upstairs to his living room where his band was ready and waiting.
Prince walked over, put his guitar on, and said, “Hit it,” as Meglan recalled. What came out was a “wall of sound,” according to Morris Hayes, Prince’s musical director and keyboardist.
“It was bananas,” he said. “They couldn’t believe that four people put out that much sound.”
He added: “Prince really liked to show that off. And they were just like, ‘Oh my God, this is crazy.’”
After the private concert, which included at least one lighter in the air, the executives were convinced they wanted Prince as the halftime show performer.
Prince’s Super Bowl halftime show took place in the rain
When Prince took the field on Feb. 4, 2007, to perform a 12-minute set the weather in Miami, Florida, wasn’t ideal. It was raining hard but, as the saying goes, the show went on.
Prince and his band proceeded to go through a carefully planned set list he selected himself. It included a medley of his own songs as well as covers.
Prince died nine years later, on April 21, 2016. He was 57.