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The 6 best Super Bowl halftime show performances, and what Coldplay should learn from them

When it comes to massive, career-defining, blimey-we've-really-made-it moments for musicians, we have headlining Glastonbury and the Americans have the Super Bowl halftime show. In the US, nothing else comes close to competing for media coverage, viewing figures and - sometimes - controversy.

Think what you want about Coldplay, but having the Big Weekend 2016 headliners performing on Sunday 7 February - at Super Bowl 50, no less, which you can watch on BBC Two and listen to on 5 Live - is both a colossal achievement for the band and great news for British music. They're joining a very select group of Brits who have played before - Sir Paul McCartney in 2005, The Rolling Stones in 2006 and The Who in 2010 (others - M.I.A., Phil Collins and Sting - have been included, but not headlined).

Halftime shows are often gargantuanly cheesy and utterly forgettable. Some have a genuine spark. Here are six that Coldplay that should be studying closely before they step out in front of a global audience of over 100 million people (and they'll definitely being seeking advice from their guest Beyoncé, who headlined in 2013). No pressure, lads, and enjoy our Super Bowl Playlist at the end of this article.

1. Janet Jackson, 2004

The most famous of all Super Bowl halftime shows and not for Janet Jackson's musical performance, although that was excellent. She was seven songs deep into her set, which featured guest appearances from P. Diddy, Nelly and Kid Rock, before Justin Timberlake even came on and that notorious incident happened during Rock Your Body. A phrase quickly became part of popular culture: "wardrobe malfunction".

Lesson for Coldplay: court controversy. It's good fun and memorable. Everyone remembers M.I.A. flipping the bird in 2012 too.

2. Michael Jackson, 1993

It's entirely possible that Janet had this thought at the back of her mind as she was preparing for her performance: "How do I outdo my brother?" Michael Jackson in 1993 completely redefined what was possible in the middle of an American football pitch in just 12 minutes between two halves of a game and it's now thought to be year zero for truly great performances. Almost single-handedly, Jackson made the halftime show a global event, even for people who don't understand the rules of American football.

Lesson for Coldplay: unlike Glastonbury, this is barely about music; it's about pure, unadulterated entertainment.

3. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, 2009

Entertainment doesn't have to mean slick dance moves and gimmicks. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's performance in 2009 was all about ultra-high energy and having an arsenal of incredible songs to pick from. "Ladies and gentleman, for the next 12 minutes, we are going to bring the righteous and mighty power of the E Street Band into your beautiful home!" began The Boss, before launching into Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Born to Run, Working on a Dream and Glory Days. It helped that Bruce had turned down playing the halftime show before; anticipation was at fever-pitch.

Lesson for Coldplay: if you're going to rock, rock with "righteous and mighty power".

4. Prince, 2007

It's hard to think of anyone in the history of popular music who unites fans of all genres better than Prince. Nor are there many others with the confidence and gall to not plan every second of their 12-minute set. His 2002 performance felt raw and spontaneous, and - in classic, unpredictable Prince style - he decided to include a bunch of covers in his set, including Best of You by Foo Fighters. He finished with Purple Rain and it started tipping down, because Prince can control the weather too, you know.

Lesson for Coldplay: it's good to be ready, but over-prepare and you risk performing a lifeless set.

5. Katy Perry, 2015

Last year, Katy Perry managed to cram more into 12 minutes than seems possible by the laws of physics - nine songs (including three by Missy Elliott - a perfect guest choice), four costume changes, set changes, a giant lion, flying... It was bonkers, surreal, slightly overwhelming and absolutely exhilarating. And then, of course, there was the 'left shark' who couldn't dance in time during Teenage Dream - an instant internet sensation that threatened to steal Katy's spotlight. Not quite, and we all need a quality meme to make something feel complete these days, right?

Lesson for Coldplay: when it comes to the Super Bowl, there's (usually) no such thing as 'over-the-top'.

6. U2, 2002

Performing at the 2002 Super Bowl - just five months after the 9/11 attacks - was all about getting the tone correct. U2 did an expert job, playing a set that felt proud and dignified, but never maudlin or mawkish. During Where the Streets Have No Name giant banners behind the band rolled out listing the names of victims before Bono flashed open his jacket to reveal a Stars-and-Stripes lining - a simple but effective bit of stagecraft. Bono and U2 don't always get things right, but they were spot-on that night.

Lesson for Coldplay: it's a global show, but an all-American experience.

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