Stevie Wonder to Perform at Super Bowl
DETROIT – Motown fans miffed by the NFL's choice of the Rolling Stones for Super Bowl halftime entertainment are getting at least some satisfaction: Stevie Wonder will perform during the pregame show at Ford Field.
Wonder will play three or four songs during the pregame show before the game Feb. 5, Lori Lambert, vice president of strategic marketing for Universal Motown Records Group, told The Associated Press. At least part of the performance will be televised, she said.
Other artists — still to be announced — also will be featured in the pregame show, Lambert said.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league was not prepared to make an announcement about the pregame show.
However, he said, "we would be thrilled to be able to work with Stevie Wonder again."
Wonder, who performed during halftime in 1999, has out a new album, titled "A Time to Love."
The NFL's announcement last week that the Rolling Stones would provide the halftime entertainment prompted an uproar in Detroit, the original home of Motown Records, the label that gave the world such artists as Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Supremes and the Four Tops.
Detroit-area residents are fiercely proud of the city's musical contributions, which extend beyond Motown to more recent stars like Eminem and Kid Rock. Aretha Franklin's singing career started at the Detroit church where her father preached, and the Queen of Soul still lives in the area. Ted Nugent, Madonna and Bob Seger also hail from Michigan.
Many saw it as a snub that those stars were passed over for halftime. Detroit radio personality Mildred Gaddis gave out the number of an NFL official on the air and urged listeners to call and complain.
McCarthy said it was always the league's intention to honor Motown in the pregame show. But halftime, he said, is bigger than Detroit.
"The Super Bowl transcends the host city and even the country," he said.
McCarthy noted that the 1998 Super Bowl in San Diego featured a Motown tribute in honor of the label's 40th anniversary. Performers included Robinson, Martha Reeves and The Temptations.
February's game will be the second in a row that halftime entertainment has been provided by British musicians over 60. Paul McCartney played halftime last year, as the NFL sought a family-friendly act to follow Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004.