Super Bowl Keeps Motown on the Bench
Thu, 02 Feb 2006 17:20:27
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Detroit, host city for Super Bowl XL, is a city famous for a few things and infamous for a few others. With its once-proud auto industry crumbling, its musical heritage -- spanning from Motown to Bob Seger to The MC5 to contemporary artists like Eminem and The White Stripes -- becomes an even more important cultural signature.
With the eyes of the world fixed on the city for the Super Bowl, the stage seemed to be set for a celebration of Motown's legacy. Others lobbied for a more modern Detroit to be represented -- a Jack White / Kid Rock duet perhaps? But no. Instead, the NFL -- still petrified by the specter of Janet Jackson's breast -- will be wheeling out The Rolling Stones to perform a family-safe medley of old faithfuls. While Detroit natives were asked to participate elsewhere during Super Bowl weekend, there is no question which slot is the most prestigious or most watched -- and that left some American icons feeling left out in the cold.
"It was my feeling, 'How dare you come to Detroit, a city of legends -- musical legends plural -- and not ask one or two of them to participate,'" said Aretha Franklin. Following an outcry from the city, including Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the NFL tapped Franklin to sing the national anthem alongside Aaron Neville. (Although Franklin grew up in Detroit, she has never been signed to Motown Records.)
The NFL said it had always planned to honor Motown during the pregame pageantry, although Stevie Wonder and The Four Tops were both late additions to the bill. Motown was previously saluted during halftime of Super Bowl XXXII, which included performances by Smokey Robinson and The Temptations.
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff