When The Who take the stage this Super Bowl Sunday for the halftime show, they'll be taking part in a relatively new tradition -- that of veteran rock artists doing their thing while keeping the airwaves safe in a post-wardrobe malfunction world. Since Jane Jackson and her FCC frightening act, the halftime show shifted dramatically from multiple artists with choreographed dance numbers to single artists performing their hits, often in medley form.
Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and now The Who, have all won the honor chronologically since, and aside from a suggestive guitar silhouette from Prince, and an overzealous crotch impacting slide from Springsteen, the event has successfully avoided controversy. And unless Pete Townshend's bloody arm flies off during a trademark windmill, The Who's show should be pretty safe as well. They've already leaked the songs their performing in medley -- "Baba O'Riley," "Pinball Wizard," "Tommy, Can You Hear Me?," "Who Are You," and "Won't Get Fooled Again" -- the same songs that Townshend has complained about being the only songs of their extensive catalogue that get any play. But they are playing on the network to the CSI franchise, so at least those viewers will be pleased with the dinosaur-heavy choices.
Speaking of dinosaurs of rock, the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures make an appearance this weekend on Saturday Night Live. Featuring a lineup of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), they might be the heaviest sounding band to take the stage at 30 Rock. While John Paul Jones was always in their minds to play bass in the band, Sir Paul McCartney recently revealed he was almost the bass player, after a meeting between Grohl and him following Macca's Grammy performance last year. Hard to imagine that Hohner bass playing that heavy, but there you have it.
Elsewhere, best not miss the subtle indie synth pop of UK's Hot Chip, who appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Thursday, evening in support of their latest release, the surprisingly romantic One Life Stand (out next week, but streaming free this week on their MySpace page).
Finally, on VH1 this Saturday is the documentary Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America, which looks back on 35-year running creation of Don Cornelius. For much of its run from 1971-2006 (over 1,100 episodes), the "black American Bandstand" introduced its viewers to the best in R&B, Soul and Hip-Hop, championing talent like Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Al Green and that Soul Train Line of dancers. Also of note is that The Roots and Fallon drummer Ahmir Khalib "?uestlove" Thompson does the score, and Cornelius ends the film the same way he did the series, with the parting "we wish you LOVE, PEACE, AND SOUL!!!"
Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, February 1
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: They Might Be Giants w/ John Hodgeman (REPEAT)
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Trash Talk
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: New Kids on the Block
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Doves (REPEAT)
SYNDICATION: The Ellen Degeneres Show: Rihanna
Tuesday, February 2
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Ben Harper & Relentless7
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Alberta Cross
NBC: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: Neko Case (REPEAT)
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Motion City Soundtrack
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Crocodiles (REPEAT)
Wednesday, February 3
SUNDANCE: Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...: Elvis Costello, Bono & The Edge (U2) (REPEAT)
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Metric (REPEAT)
Thursday, February 4
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: The Bravery
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Robin Thicke with Nicki Minaj
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Hot Chip
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: The Raveonettes (REPEAT)
Friday, February 5
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: The Swell Season
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Jill Scott
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Shadows Fall
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Lisa Hannigan REPEAT)
SYNDICATION: Live With Regis and Kelly: Robin Thicke
Saturday, February 6
NBC: Saturday Night Live: Them Crooked Vultures
PBS: Austin City Limits: Madeleine Peyroux, Esperanza Spalding
VH1: Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America: Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Snoop Dogg, Aretha Franklin
Sunday, February 7
CBS: Super Bowl XLIV: The Who