Could Van Halen ever play the Super Bowl halftime show? Their name pops up almost annually as a potential performer, but those rumors have never amounted to anything other than fans’ wishful thinking. But why not? Van Halen’s music is some of the most used music at sporting events, and Van Halen and football have always been a perfect combination; both are high energy and hard hitting!
A few years ago, the rumors that Van Halen were going to play the Super Bowl were so rampant that Van Halen issued an Open Letter (exclusively through VHND.com) where David Lee Roth stated:
I’m compelled to address the now-rampant rumors that Van Halen is playing the Super Bowl. First of all let me say this — be still my pigskin heart. That honor has not been bestowed upon us at this time though it is one we would accept in a NY minute.
Having heard VH blaring through stadium speakers on any given Sunday – more like every given Sunday, the idea of playing there live would be like – ‘okay, now we’re in the game’.
Van Halen’s collective memories are – and with all due respect to each and every one of these memories, teeming with been-theres and done-that’s, but none include playing at the Super Bowl. Playing at the Super Bowl is a veritable holy grail of musical recognition, a highly prized rite of passage for (game-changing) artists. Not a spiritual rite with snake pits or Hebrew school or anything, but it’s up there.
We are not on Commissioner Goodell’s dance card at this time, but we would be most honored to dance the halftime away in New Orleans.
It’s an honor to be considered and for that we would like to thank the rumormongers all over the World Wide Web.
Who the NFL ended up choosing for the 2013 Super Bowl was Beyoncé, even though Van Halen was clearly the people’s choice, according to an ESPN own poll. In their poll, a full two-thirds of the 150,000 unique voters voted for Van Halen to perform! That’s pretty incredible, considering the fact that this is a worldwide poll which does not allow anyone to vote more than once.
Comedian Jim Florentine was so disgusted that the NFL chose Beyonce over Van Halen that he went on a long, hilarious rant about it on his podcast.
“Did ANY male heterosexual football fan get excited when they heard that it was Beyonce doing the halftime show? NOBODY. Van Halen would have been perfect.”
We’ll speculate that if (and that’s a very big “if”!) Van Halen actually ends up playing the Super Bowl halftime show in the future, it would coincide with other band activity. Over a hundred million people tune to in to watch the Super Bowl and the halftime show each year. The bands are never paid to perform, but it’s a huge opportunity for publicity on the biggest television sports event in the US. Bands use it as free promotion — a springboard to announce an album and/or a tour afterward.
As David Lee Roth has said, on any given day, you can walk into any hockey or basketball arena throughout the country and you’ll hear Van Halen’s music blaring to get the crowd pumped up. Van Halen and the Super Bowl would go together like America and apple pie.
As for the future? Last weekend, fans came up with the hashtag #VanHalenforSB52, and Eddie Van Halen’s wife Janie tweeted the hashtag during the Super Bowl this week.
— Janie Van Halen (@JanieVanHalen) February 6, 2017
For whatever it’s worth, let’s keep that hashtag going! Spread the word! Let’s make a concentrated effort and perhaps the people will be heard! #VanHalenforSB52
Next year’s Super Bowl will be held in Minneapolis on February 4th, just one week before the 40th anniversary of Van Halen’s debut album.
What do YOU think? Would the NFL ever break its current trend of selecting younger pop performers as headliners (Madonna, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, etc). Note that although the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay shared the stage with other acts in recent years, the last time a rock band performed alone during the halftime show was when The Who performed in 2010. Aerosmith performed back in 2001, but had to share the stage with Britney Spears and NSYNC.
While we’re dreaming about this, let’s imagine the type of a set Van Halen would play. In line with all the recent performers, the band would likely perform for 10-15 minutes, playing a medley of 4-6 of its biggest hits.
Will Van Halen ever be asked to play? Which songs, solos, or medleys do you think would make up the perfect set? Share your thoughts in the comments.