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Rolling Stones to Rock Super Bowl XL Halftime Show


American football's Super Bowl halftime show has developed a history of controversy in the past few years, and the 2006 edition will not be an exception. There have been disagreements on everything from who should be the headline performer for Sunday's big game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, to age restrictions for the on-field dancers.

It used to be so simple in the old days when halftime entertainment was something of an afterthought. Seven of the first nine Super Bowl halftime shows just featured college marching bands. And longtime observers may remember early performances by the likes of Carol Channing and the group "Up With People."

But the Super Bowl has gone from being nothing more than a championship football game to a global event airing in some 234 countries and territories in more than 30 different languages.

Two years ago, after the stir caused by Janet Jackson's breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction," National Football League officials decided ex-Beatle Paul McCartney would be a safer choice for the 2005 halftime show. And this year, the Rolling Stones will take a break from their "Bigger Bang" World Tour to perform.

But not everyone was thrilled with that decision - especially in the host city of Detroit. Many here saw the choice of the Stones as a snub to Motown's (Detroit's nickname as the Motor City) musical legacy.

But Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger is happy to be back in Detroit.

"We had a great show here earlier, in 2005, and we remember," said Mick Jagger. "I think we were the first concert to play in Ford Field. So we are looking forward very much to playing there again."

However, news reports revealed that volunteer dancers for the halftime show could not be older than 45 - even though Jagger is 62.

The NFL made amends, opening the dancer position to everyone and adding Detroit favorites to the entertainment lineup. The Super Bowl pre-game show will feature Motown legend Stevie Wonder performing a medley of his hits, along with singers John Legend and Joss Stone.

Another Motown star, "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin, will sing the National Anthem. It will be sung as a duet with New Orleans vocalist Aaron Neville, whose home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and they will be accompanied by renowned New Orleans pianist, Doctor John.

NFL executive Charles Coplin is in charge of the musical entertainment at Super Bowl XL, and says it is a tough challenge to put together a musical program that appeals to as many people as possible. But he believes everyone will be happy this year, saying that "from a pure celebrity and talent standpoint, it is a dream lineup."

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