Back in 1993, the NFL was looking for a way to better keep viewers tuned into the Super Bowl during halftime and into the game's second half. The solution? Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and King of Pop Michael Jackson. "I don't know what kid didn't listen to [Michael Jackson] at my age," says Bruno Mars. "You aspire to be as great as he is as an artist. I don't think any artist in pop, rock or hip-hop has ever done it any bigger than him ... He's the man." Fittingly, 20 years later, Mars would hold court in the moonwalking footsteps of his hero as the superstar center of the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show.
Born Peter Gene Hernandez to a musical family in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1985, Bruno Mars cut his teeth as a musician and performer under the tutelage of his father, a Latin percussionist who organized a Vegas-style revue that featured the entire Hernandez family. Mars was cast as a mini-Elvis Presley impersonator. Unsurprisingly, Mars cites Presley as an influence, alongside such other legendary songwriters and showmen as Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown and Jackie Wilson.
On album's such as 2012's Unorthodox Jukebox, which contained the number-one hits "Locked Out of Heaven" and "When I Was Your Man," Mars' taut, rhythmically-charged style earned him comparisons to the Police, while his fashion sense, shimmering tenor voice and fluid dance moves evoke Michael Jackson. During his performance of "Runaway Baby" at the 2012 Grammy Awards, Mars wore a sparkling gold and black Dolce and Gabbana tuxedo on stage. That outfit and more are featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
This blog post is part of a series produced by Huffington Post and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in conjunction with the latter's current "Right Here, Right Now" exhibit. The exhibit, at the Cleveland-based museum, takes a look at the evolution of rock and roll and its impact on the next generation of artists by taking visitors on an intimate journey into the stories of chart-topping acts as told through their personal items and clothing from iconic performances. To learn more, visit here. To meet the other seven, visit here and see below!