|Origin||Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England|
|Genres||Pop rock, pop punk, power pop|
|Associated acts||Fightstar, Son of Dork, McFly, McBusted|
|Past members||James Bourne
Busted were an English pop rock band from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The band was formed in early 2000 and originally consisted of James Bourne, Matt Willis,Ki Fitzgerald and Owen Doyle. Doyle and Fitzgerald left the group in October 2000, and Charlie Simpson was drafted in shortly afterwards. They released two studio albums, Busted (2002) and A Present for Everyone (2003), one compilation and one live album. They have also won two Brit Awards and won The Record of the Year in 2004 with their single "Thunderbirds Are Go". amongst other awards.
Busted have, based on BPI certifications, sold a minimum of 2.1 million albums in the UK alone. They sold over 4 million albums worldwide before breaking up in January 2005 following Simpson's decision to pursue a career fronting alternative rock band Fightstar.
After a successful series of cameo performances as a supergroup with McFly at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013, it was announced on 7 November 2013 that a press conference will take place to discuss joint plans for Busted and McFly in 2014. Simpson has used his Twitter page to confirm he will not be a part of these plans. On 10 November 2013, Willis and Bourne and McFly members Tom Fletcher, Harry Judd, Danny Jones and Dougie Poynter changed their Twitter display pictures to collage images of the joint band, further causing speculation regarding the future plans. The following day it was announced that the two bands would tour as McBusted in 2014.
2001–02: Formation and debut album
The band was launched in August 2002, making their first appearance on the cover of Smash Hits with the headline: "Meet Busted: They're Going to Be Bigger than Rik Waller!", making it a first for any pop band to appear on the magazine's cover before releasing a single. Their debut single, "What I Go to School For", was finally released in September 2002, reaching number three in the UK charts. Their debut album was then released, initially charting only around the UK Top 30 and receiving mixed reviews from critics. The follow-up "Year 3000", which was written about James Bourne's obsession with the film Back to the Future, then followed in January 2003, reaching number two in the UK chart. In April, their third single, "You Said No" finally reached number one. Guinness Hit Singles certified them as the first band to have their debut three singles enter the top three in an ascending order.
Recording began for their second album while the debut album was re-released with new tracks and an enhanced CD section. It would go onto sell 1.2 million copies by the end of the year. The debut album's final single, "Sleeping with the Light On", reached number 3 in August 2003, beaten to number one by Blu Cantrell's "Breathe".
2003–05: A Present for Everyone and split
The band started the summer of 2003 with a win for Favourite Newcomer at the National Music Awards, as well as Best Band at that year's Disney Channel Kids' Awards. After this, the band launched the promotional trail for their new album, A Present for Everyone and its lead single "Crashed the Wedding", which reached number one in the UK chart. More edgy than their previous album, Simpson said that it had some "harder, Good Charlotte type vibes coming through on this album". This album would also go on to reach sales of over 1 million copies. The band ended 2003 with a nomination at Record of the Year for "Year 3000" (they lost out to Westlife, who won with their No. 1 "Mandy"), the announcement of an arena tour for February the following year, and a Monkees style Christmas TV special on ITV1, which attracted good ratings for its 4pm time slot.
During 2003, Charlie met fellow songwriter-guitarist Alex Westaway and drummer Omar Abidi at a party. He was by this stage becoming increasingly frustrated by the music he was performing in Busted and stated he had "all of this creativity pent up inside and I just needed to vent it somewhere, and I was writing a lot of songs but I couldn't play them, because I didn't have anyone to play them with". During the aforementioned party, an impromptu jam session took place. Simpson, Westaway and Abidi played Rage Against the Machine's song "Killing in the Name" on loop, and agreed to attend a gig a few days later. After the show, they went back to Simpson's flat and began performing on guitars and a v-drum kit, which led to their first song being written, titled "Too Much Punch". Westaway later invited bassist Dan Haigh to practise with the band and soon began booking regular rehearsal sessions together, under the name Fightstar.
2004 was to prove their final year together as a band. The band performed a successful arena tour to start the year before reaching number one and number three with "Who's David?" and "Air Hostess" respectively. The band picked up Best British Breakthrough Act and Best Pop Act at that year's BRIT Awards.
The band then headed over to America to release a self-titled album that was a mixture of their first and second album. Their exploits were captured for the TV series "America or Busted", about Busted's attempts to achieve success in the United States, which ultimately failed. The show debuted on MTV UK and Ireland in November of that year, over the course of the series, it saw Busted's attempts to 'break' America dwindle as interviews fell through and performances remained limited both in terms of audience size and press attention.
Whilst the band were out in America, they were then invited to record the theme tune to the brand new "Thunderbirds" movie that was coming out that summer. Released as a double-a-side with the album track, "3am", it gave them their fourth and final number one in August 2004, staying at the top for two weeks, the longest they had ever spent at the top, and would later go onto win them "Record of the Year" in December that year. However, the release of the fifth single from their second album, "She Wants to Be Me" failed to chart due to its lone formats being a download and a limited edition pocket sized CD, both of which breached chart regulations at the time. Their live album "A Ticket for Everyone" in November peaked at number eleven. The band embarked on another sell-out tour that November, and Busted gained a record of the band to play the most consecutive sellout dates at Wembley Arena, eleven nights. At the end of 2004, Busted were involved in the UK number-one Christmas single, Band Aid 20's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" with money raised helping to combat HIV and AIDS across Africa, famine relief in the Darfur region of Sudan and aid relief in many countries, such as Ethiopia.
Simpson's time spent with Fightstar reportedly began to cause tensions within the band, amplified when Fightstar announced a 14-date UK tour. Simpson announced to Busted's manager on 24 December 2004 over a phone call that he was leaving the band to focus on Fightstar full-time. On 13 January 2005, Busted's record label announced a press conference was to be held at the Soho Hotel in London the following day. The next day, the 14th, it was then announced that Busted were splitting up after Simpson's departure weeks before.
In a recent interview, Simpson said "It was a real fun thing to be doing, and I got on well with everyone I was doing it with, but on the other side, the music wasn't really fulfilling me. I have good memories of the time, because we were travelling the world and doing some amazing things, but then as far as self-fulfilment goes, it wasn't really doing a lot for me, so I have these mixed views when I look back. But there's no doubt that it was an amazing thing to do."
2006–12: Solo projects and Bands
Charlie began pursuing a solo career after playing in Fightstar, a post-hardcore band which differs greatly from the sound of Busted. They formed a year prior to Busted's splilt. To-date they have released one EP and three albums: They Liked You Better When You Were Dead, Grand Unification, One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours, and more recently Be Human, all being released in both the UK and the US. They have also released an album of b-sides and rarities, "Alternate Endings". Fightstar announced a hiatus at the beginning of 2010, stating that they were "taking some time off" to work on separate projects before regrouping to begin working a new record. Fightstar are still on hiatus, but are believed to be writing a new album in the new year (2014). Simpson released a solo acoustic album called Young Pilgrim, which peaked at number 6 in the UK Albums Chart in 2011, and is working on a second release.
James went on to release music through pop band Son of Dork, but is now pursuing a solo career under the name of Future Boy. Bourne has also written songs for many artists, including Melanie C, McFly, JC Chasez, Patrick Monahan, and the Jonas Brothers. From 2007– 2008, he was one of the main songwriters for the ITV musical drama, Britannia High.
After a brief stint in rehab after the Busted split, Matt set up a solo career, releasing singles in 2005 and 2006, "Up All Night", "Hey Kid", "Don't Let It Go to Waste", and "Crash" for the film Mr Bean's Holiday, all except the latter of which came with his album Don't Let It Go to Waste. Matt also appeared on, and was crowned winner of, the 2006 series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. After being dropped from his record label, Willis has turned to presenting. So far he has presented at the Brit Awards and more recently ITV2's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! NOW! alongside his wife, Emma, the pair are due to get together again for E!, presenting the BAFTAs. On Willis' Myspace, he has stated that he is currently writing with his new band, yet to be named. From February to November 2012, Matt Willis starred as Fiyero in the musical Wicked in London's West End where he received mixed reviews. It 2013 he also appeared in West End Men with fellow musical star Lee Mead at the Vaudeville Theatre in London for a limited time.
In 2010, some sources suggested that, after a £1 million offer, Busted would reform for a tour and possibly a new album. Charlie denied that he would return to Busted, stating, "I wish Matt and James all the best with their future projects but I want to make it unequivocally clear that I have no interest what-so-ever in re-joining Busted and I never will", but James wrote on his Twitter page, "I'll fucking get up and do it any time, any day, anywhere."
From 19 to 22 September 2013, Matt and James made a surprise brief reunion as Busted when they joined McFly as special guests during the band's four 10th anniversary concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. They performed "Year 3000", "Air Hostess" and McFly's "Shine A Light" with McFly under the name 'McBusted'. McFly and Busted have confirmed a 2014 tour together. Charlie said through Twitter that although he will not be joining James, Matt and McFly on tour in 2014, he wishes them the best of luck in the future.
- Former members
- Matt Willis – vocals, bass guitar (previously drums)
- James Bourne – vocals, guitars
- Charlie Simpson – vocals, guitars, keyboard/piano, harmonica, drums
- Tom Fletcher - vocals, guitar
- Busted (2004)
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