College football and music have had a closely intertwined relationship ever since the first trumpet showed up at a stadium to blare out the first fight song. Notre Dame claims to have America’s oldest college band. It was formed in 1845, some 42 years before the school played its first football game. History books say the Band of the Fighting Irish showed up to lend support. But not until 1907 at the University of Illinois did a real marching band step out to perform the first modern halftime show. 

Colleges were quite happy to have their bands handle all the music duties during both regular season and bowl games until the dawn of the 21st century. Then, two developments occurred. 

First, mammoth public address systems were installed at stadiums so that loud recorded music could be pumped into stadiums, especially during pregame stretching or warmups when players loved to hear their favorite tunes that would pump them up for the kickoff.

Soon thereafter, certain bowl games—and even individual schools during the regular season--decided that it would be okay to stage concerts in connection with their games. And the bigger the games, the bigger the concerts. Fans approved.

Thus, when the College Football Playoff National Championship began in 2015, the decision was made by organizers to turn the event into a weekend-long celebration that included big-name music acts.

That will be the case at the 2019 game, as well, with this year’s edition of AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! Three nights of outdoor entertainment at Discovery Meadow in downtown San Jose will feature acts that have filled up nearby SAP Center and Shoreline Amphitheatre in recent years. Consider these helpful suggestions:            

IF YOU LIKE OLD-SCHOOL OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS, YOU WILL LIKE: Leon Bridges (@leonbridges). Although just 29 years old, he is a classic soul man who performed at the White House in a tribute to Ray Charles. Bridges performs on Saturday, January 5. 

IF YOU LIKE THE LINEMEN IN THE TRENCHES WHO LEAVE THE FIELD BATTERED AND BRUISED, YOU WILL LIKE:  Alessia Cara (@alessiacara). She’s the 2018 Grammy award winner for Best New Artist, at least partially based on one of her first big hits, “Scars To Your Beautiful.” She’ll hit the stage as a headliner on Friday, January 4.            

IF YOU PREFER COLLEGE FOOTBALL OVER THE PRO GAME, YOU WILL LIKE: OneRepublic (@OneRepublic). Sunday night’s co-headiner, OneRepublic, reached No. 1 on the charts with its song “Counting Stars,” which disdains the worship of money as opposed to doing things for love. Sample chorus lyric: “No more counting dollars, we’ll be counting stars.”

IF YOU LIKE ELEGANT PASS PATTERNS FOR LONG TOUCHDOWN CATCHES, YOU WILL LIKE: Logic (@Logic301). The rapper-singer-songwriter is Saturday night’s headliner and prides himself on his smooth style. In fact, Logic might be the only rapper who holds out Frank Sinatra as a role model, releasing mix tapes entitled “Young Sinatra.” In an interview, Logic explained that his obsession with the Rat Pack singer happened, because Sinatra “showed peace, love, grace, positivity, honor and valor.”

IF YOU VALUE EXPERIENCE AND GRIT ON YOUR ROSTER, YOU WILL LIKE: Ellie Goulding (@elliegoulding). She isn’t afraid to take risky gigs. The popular British electropop singer performed at the 2015 Australian Rules Football final in Melbourne. A few years earlier in her native country, she sang at the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Goulding has also completed a half-marathon and once took boxing lessons. This CFP National Championship gig is not going to phase her a bit. Goulding performs as Sunday’s co-headliner.

IF YOU LIKE SMART PLAY CALLING, YOU WILL LIKE:  Brynn Elliott (@brynnelliott). She’s a Harvard graduate and writes songs with intelligent lyrics. She is Friday night’s opening act.

IF YOU LIKE INTENSE AND TALENTED TEAMWORK, YOU WILL LIKE: Jay Rock (@jayrock). The biggest hits of his recording career have tended to be joint efforts. His first single, “All My Life,” featured fellow rappers Lil Wayne and  On another of Rock’s popular songs, “Hood Gone Love It,” he was joined by Kendrick Lamar. And on the soundtrack of last summer’s “Black Panther” film, Rock is represented by “Kings Dead,” which he recorded with Lamar, Future and James Blake. Rock performs Saturday night at Discovery Meadow.