Charlie Simpson

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For the fundraiser, see Charlie Simpson (fundraiser). For the footballer, see Charlie Simpson (footballer).
Charlie Simpson
Simpson performing live in 2011
Background information
Birth name Charles Robert Simpson
Born (1985-06-07) 7 June 1985 (age 29)
Origin Woodbridge, Suffolk, England
Genres Alternative rock, post-hardcore, indie rock, pop rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboard, piano, violin, harmonica, drums
Years active 2001–present
Labels Search and Destroy, PIAS Germany, Trustkill, Gut, Deep Elm, Island, Nusic Sounds
Associated acts Fightstar, Busted, This Is Menace

Charles Robert "Charlie" Simpson (born 7 June 1985) is an English musician. He was the youngest member of multi-BRIT Award-winning band Busted, and is the lead vocalist, guitarist and co-lyricist in alternative rock band Fightstar.[1][2][3] AllMusic has noted that Simpson is "perhaps the only pop star to ever make a convincing transition from fresh-faced pop band to an authentic alternative rock frontman."[4] Simpson is a multi-instrumentalist, skilled at playing the guitar, keyboard, piano and drums.[5][6]

Following three successful studio albums and subsequent tours, Fightstar initiated an extended hiatus in 2010, allowing Simpson to focus on his solo career. Simpson released his debut EP When We Were Lions on Christmas Day 2010. His debut full-length album entitled Young Pilgrim was released on 15 August 2011. Simpson signed to Nusic Sounds record label in 2011 and his second solo album Long Road Home was released on 4 August 2014.

Early life and family[edit]

The youngest of three boys, Simpson was born in Woodbridge, Suffolk.[7] He has 2 brothers, Will and Edd;— Will was born in 1980 and is the vocalist and guitarist in Brigade and Edd was born in 1981 and is the lead singer and guitarist in an alternative band called Union Sound Set. Simpson has a very musical family dating back to Sir William Sterndale Bennett (mother's maiden name) who was an English pianist, conductor, and composer, a notable figure in the musical life of his time.[8]

Simpson was educated at Framlingham College's prep school Brandeston Hall[9] – he is the fifth generation Simpson to attend Framlingham[10] – and Uppingham School, where he was schoolmates with McFly drummer Harry Judd.


Busted (2002-2005)[edit]

Charlie first shot to fame with pop act Busted as a result to responding to an advertisement placed by Matt Willis and James Bourne in NME magazine in 2001.[11] Busted consisted of Charlie on lead guitar and occasionally drums, Willis on bass guitar and Bourne on rhythm guitar; all three members provided vocals. Over a period of two years, the trio had major success and sold over 3 million records,[12] won two BRIT Awards,[13] and also won Record of The Year in 2004.[14]

Fightstar (2003-present)[edit]

Despite the huge success of Busted, Simpson began to grow increasingly discontented with the pop star lifestyle and the music he was performing.[15] As an avid fan of rock music, he felt unfulfilled by the commercial pop songs of Busted.[15]

He met Alex Westaway in late 2003, forming what became Fightstar shortly afterwards. For over a year he would lead a secret "double life": by night he would attend rehearsal sessions with his new band after completing obligated media work and concert performances with Busted.[15] During 2004, he and Westaway wrote Fightstar's debut EP, They Liked You Better When You Were Dead. The EP showcased a heavier post-hardcore influenced sound that differed greatly to Busted's material.[16] The EP was recorded during November with Mark Williams in London.[15] During this time, speculation began to grow about Busted's future. He announced he was leaving Busted to pursue his career full-time with Fightstar in January 2005.[17]

Simpson then funded and put together a compilation album called The Suffolk Explosion, which was released through his own label Sandwich Leg Records. It showcased a number of unsigned bands from Charlie's home county of Suffolk, including Brigade and Prego, as well as a solo acoustic track written by him called "Carry Her".[18] Fightstar went on to record their debut full-length studio album with rock producer Colin Richardson. Grand Unification was released on 13 March 2006, and further proved the initial cynics wrong by receiving widespread positive reviews. In particular, Paul Brannigan of Kerrang! magazine stated the album was "one of the best British rock albums of the past decade".[19] Scottish music publication The Fly also lauded the album as "one of the 21st Century's ultimate rock debuts".[20] Shortly afterwards, the band went on to receive nominations at the Kerrang! Awards for "Best British Newcomer" and "Best British Band".[21] After leaving Island Records due to a disagreement over the band's artistic direction,[22] the band signed to an independent label called Institute Records which was a division of Gut Records to release their second album.[23] One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours (2007), peaked at No. 27 on the UK Album Chart,[24] before releasing a B-sides compilation album titled Alternate Endings (2008). The four-piece then funded and co-produced their third album, Be Human (2009), which became their highest charting album after peaking at No. 20 in the UK.[25]

On 29 July 2009, he made a Myspace page for his acoustic solo work. There were three songs on the page, "Dead Man Walking", 'Empty Guns (Demo)', and 'Carry Her'.[26] 'Carry Her' was previously available on The Suffolk Explosion.

Charlie recently got involved with film scoring, stating in an interview that this was something he was keen to pursue later in his career. He wrote the score for an independent British film Everyone Is Going To Die, which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in March 2013. [dated info]

Solo career (2010-present)[edit]

Fightstar announced a hiatus at the beginning of 2010, stating that they were "taking some time off" for the remainder of 2010–11 to work on separate projects before regrouping in 2012 to begin working a new record. Simpson has started working on a solo acoustic album, while Westaway and Haigh will be completing post-production on the bands film and working on some music videos.[27]

Simpson went in to the studio in June 2010 to start recording his full-length debut album with producer Danton Supple, whose previous work includes Coldplay and The Cure. The album was funded through PledgeMusic and as one of the main incentives for the campaign, fans received an EP called When We Were Lions on Christmas Day 2010. The full-length album was finally finished in February 2011 and was mastered by John Davis at Metropolis Studios in London. The first single to be taken from the album was called "Down Down Down" and it had its first radio airplay on 11 April, as Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton's Record of the Week. The single was officially released on 16 May, though it was made available to buy on iTunes straight away. The album, titled Young Pilgrim was released on 15 August 2011. It went straight into the UK album chart at number 6, having been at number 5 in the midweeks. Simpson signed to PIAS Records in Germany and the album was released in Europe in August 2012.

On 2 February 2013, it was reported that Simpson had finished writing the follow up to his 2011 solo debut 'Young Pilgrim' and he would be heading in to the studio with producer Steve Osbourne (U2/Placebo) to start recording in early March.

Simpson spent the summer of 2013 playing on the Vans Warped Tour in the US, which was the first time he has played live as a solo artist in America. During October 2013, Charlie went on a tour of the UK supporting rock band, Deaf Havana. He previewed two new tracks from the forthcoming album 'Winter Hymns' and 'Ten More Days'. In 2014, he will be undertaking a small run of solo shows in the UK in the lead up to the release of his second solo album.

Simpson announced on 28 April 2014 that his second solo album is to be called Long Road Home and will be released later that year, since revealing the release date would be 4 August 2014.[28] He also announced that he will be doing his biggest headline show to date at the London Roundhouse on 14 October.


Simpson was quoted in Tatler magazine as saying he supported the Conservative Party,[29] however, he has denied this claim: "The Tory thing is complete bulls--t! It came out of Matt's mouth in an interview taking the complete p--s, and it was on the front cover of a newspaper. He was like laughing when he said it. Matt's Labour! He said something like, 'Now I've got loads of money I'm a f--king Tory boy,' laughing."[30]

Solo discography[edit]

Studio albums
Album title Album details Peak chart positions
Young Pilgrim 6[31] 3[32] 7[33]
Long Road Home 10[34] 1[35] 13[36]
Extended plays
Title Year Chart positions Album
"Down Down Down" 2011 65 9 Young Pilgrim
"Parachutes" 44 5 39
"Cemetery" 32
"Farmer & His Gun" 2012
"Haunted" 2014 Long Road Home


  1. ^ They Liked You Better When You Were Dead (Digipack). Fightstar. Sandwich Leg Records. 2005. CID887. 
  2. ^ Grand Unification (CD). Fightstar. Island Records. 2006. CID8165. 
  3. ^ One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours (CD). Fightstar. Gut Records. 2007. INSRECCD04. 
  4. ^ O'Brien, Jon. "Biography: Charlie Simpson". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Steele, Heather. "Charlie Simpson: Interview". Gigwise. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Be Human (CD). Fightstar. Search & Destroy Records. 2009. SADCDA002. 
  7. ^ "Biography for Charlie Simpson (V)". IMDb. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "Brigade – Interview". Designer Magazine. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  9. ^ "CHARLIE SIMPSON (S90-99)". 
  10. ^ Simpson Family
  11. ^ Johann Hari. "Busted: An Interview". Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  12. ^ "America Or Busted Episode 2". Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "Busted Confirm Split". NME. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  14. ^ "Busted Win Record of Year". Sky. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  15. ^ a b c d "I Am Fightstar...". Archived from the original on 8 September 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2009. 
  16. ^ "Fightstar Biography". All Music. Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  17. ^ "Boy band Busted split". London: Daily Mail. 13 January 2005. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  18. ^ ~ Charlie Simpson. "The Suffolk Explosion: Various Artists: Music". Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "INTERVIEW: Fightstar". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 29 January 2009. [dead link]
  20. ^ "Fightstar 'Be Human' (Search & Destroy)". The Fly. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  21. ^ "Fightstar up for best band award". CBBC. 10 August 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "Fightstar end Island Records contract". Digital Spy. Retrieved 8 September 2006. 
  23. ^ "Fightstar Biography". NME. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  24. ^ "One Day Son This Will All Be Yours". Chart Stats. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  25. ^ "Be Human". Chart Stats. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  26. ^ "Charlie Simpson on Myspace Music". Myspace. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  27. ^ "Fightstar Interview". Norwich Gigs. Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. 
  28. ^ Simpson, Charlie. ""HAUNTED" AVAILABLE NOW". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  32. ^ "Top 40 Independent Albums Archive". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  33. ^ "Top 40 Scottish Albums Archive". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  34. ^ The Official Charts Company Retrieved 11 August 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. ^ The Official Charts Company Retrieved 11 August 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ The Official Charts Company Retrieved 11 August 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]