Why Prince’s Super Bowl Performance Remains The Greatest Halftime Show Of All Time

There have been a lot of amazing Super Bowl halftime performances over the years, but Prince’s Super Bowl performance in 2007 remains the greatest of all time. And with good reason. Prince and his group performed in a downpour of rain and wind that was so bad that commentators couldn’t even see in front of their faces.

Can You Make it Rain Harder?

Production designer Bruce Rodgers described the rain that day in Miami as “a scene from Moby Dick.” Rodgers reveals the phone call between Prince and an event supervisor, who told his people to get Prince on the phone. They then proceeded to inform Prince that it was raining, which obviously Prince knew.

Then, the producer asked Prince if he was going to be OK. That’s when Prince said something that floored Bruce Rodgers: “Can you make it rain harder?”

“Can you make it rain harder?”

In other words, Prince was up for the challenge. Hell yeah. Of course he was. It’s Prince.

Challenges with Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime Show

There were several concerns about this group performing in the rain. One was the incredibly slippery stage and Prince and his dancers wearing high heels. The stage was made out of a very slick tile, which when it got wet, was even more slippery.

Another concern was the electricity out in all of this rain. Prince was using four separate live electric guitars.

Florida A&M Marching Band at Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime Show

Commentators said it was so pouring and raining that they couldn’t see. But it didn’t slow down Prince and his crew. When he performed his song “Baby, I’m a Star,” he was even flanked by the Marching 100, the Florida A&M Marching Band.

At that time, the Marching 100 was the go-to group when you wanted something utterly unique. The band director at the time, Julian White, explained that he got a call from halftime show representatives who explained Prince’s vision for the show. The band was excited to be a part of it, White said.

“What’s great about these things is when you call up the band director and you introduce yourself — he has no idea why you’re calling — and then you say, ‘You know, we’re doing the halftime show with Prince and we want to know whether your band and your school will participate in the halftime show,’ and, man, that’s the most fun part of the job because they’re just thrilled beyond belief,” he said. “It’ll be a memory for every member of that band for as long as they live.”

They were amazing and added a whole new dimension to the performance.

Songs Sung at Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance

Interestingly, and in typical Prince genius, Prince covered several artists in addition to his own songs. He chose music that he knew would resonate with the audience.

He sang his own music, of course, but also Creedence Clearwater Revival’sProud Mary,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.” His final cover was of a Foo Fighters song, “Best of You,” that never even cracked the top 15 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Here’s the list, in order of performance.

  1. We Will Rock You
  2. Let’s Go Crazy
  3. 1999
  4. Baby I’m A Star
  5. All Along the Watchtower
  6. Best of You
  7. Purple Rain

Prince’s Performance of Purple Rain at the Super Bowl

Then came the most epic performance ever of “Purple Rain,” Prince’s finest piece of work. The former editor-in-chief of VIBE Alan Light said that Prince used the weather as a sort of planned special effect for his show. I think Mr. Light nailed it. The rain was a gift for Prince.

Producer Don Mischer recalls what was going through his head at the time.

“I got really nervous and I said, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen here? This is really, really unfortunate,’ and then we started and about 45 seconds in I started to say, ‘My God, this could be a blessing. This rain — it’s creating this ethereal look,’” Mischer said. “It created wispy clouds that drifted over the stage. It created little prisms of light that caught the light and glinted the raindrops on the lenses and stuff like that, and I started to realize this had really been a gift. They’re able to perform in it, that it’s really making this show — it’s giving it a feeling that it never could have actually produced.”

Prince behind curtain at Super Bowl Halftime Show Purple Rain

Mischer’s vision involved Prince performing his iconic guitar solo from “Purple Rain” from behind a curtain that had his silhouette projected onto it. It was raining so hard, they were worried the curtain wouldn’t even rise. But it did.

“I always make history.” -Prince

The Video of Prince’s Purple Rain Super Bowl Performance

Prince halftime show purple rain framed print

Watch the video below, which includes not only Prince’s epic Super Bowl halftime performance but also some commentary about the background of what happened on that history-making day.

If it’s easier for you to watch via Twitter, here’s a video.

Featured image via embedded YouTube video


Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Best Stuff Online, AmReading.com, and a few other websites. In 2011, she made the decision to pursue her dreams and become a full-time writer. Tiff is obsessed with finding the most interesting, coolest stuff online and sharing it with the world. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page.