Busted were an English pop rock band consisting of members James Bourne, and Matt Willis and previously Charlie Simpson who left the band in 2005. Busted split up in January 2005 after Simpson decided to leave to join his own band Fightstar. They chose the name Busted after two band members were arrested for cottaging on Hampstead Heath. During their run, they released two studio albums, a compilation and a live album. They have also won two Brit Awards and won the 2004 Record of the Year with their single "Thunderbirds Are Go".
Formation as The Termites/Buster and Busted (2000-02):
The band was initially called The Termites and consisted of James Bourne (guitar and vocals), Matt Willis (Vocals), Owen Doyle (vocals) and Ki Fitzgerald/Mcphail ( guitar and vocals). In March 2000, the quintet signed a deal with Prestige management and changed their name to Buster, after their friend's dog. During a TV appearance (select MTV), Spice Girl Geri Halliwell was a guest host on the show that week, Fitzgerald's Sister Neeley called into the show and plugged her brothers Band Busted and explained that they were about to sign a recording contract.(This was the first ever time the name Busted was introduced to the world, so Buster was no more and they were re-christened as Busted.During this formation of the group they had a website www.bustedmusic.com and were writing and recording what would later become the foundation of Busted's debut album. In October, however, Fitzgerald and Doyle say the original group broke up .
Willis and Bourne briefly placed Tom Fletcher as lead guitarist and vocalist, but was later replaced by Charlie Simpson. Fletcher was, however, kept on for other projects. This led to him becoming a member and main songwriter for his own band McFly, whom Busted invited on their UK tour in early 2004. Fletcher also co-wrote songs with Bourne which featured on both Busted albums. With Simpson on board, they set about looking for a record deal in late 2001 and at one point they were offered a deal by then Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell on his music label Syco, but they turned it down. Busted finally signed with Universal Island in early 2002 with Dom Kimberley (DY8) as occasional drummer, but they employed a number of session musicians to fill the role on stage and in the studio in his absence.
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 three in August 2003, beaten to number one by Blu Cantrell's Breathe.
A Present for Everyone (2003-04):
The band started the autumn 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 #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.
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 was 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 the 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."
Simpson is currently perusing 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" for the remainder of 2010-11 to work on separate projects before regrouping in 2012 to begin working a new record. Simpson released a solo acoustic album called "Young Pilgrim" which peaked at number 6 in the UK Album Chart in 2011.
Bourne 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. On Bourne's Myspace he has stated that he has created a new band called Call Me When I'm 18. Bourne is currently on tour around the UK performing past songs that he's written, including music from both Busted and Son of Dork. He has also announced that the release of his second Future Boy album will be in the format of a Facebook game.
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 Willis, 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.
Court case (2008-10):
This was an opportunistic attempt by Doyle and McPhail to cash in on our success. Their claims were a complete fabrication and we are delighted that the judge has seen through this and totally dismissed them. Our position has been completely vindicated and our achievements with Busted remain untarnished.
Bourne & Willis on outcome of the court case, From The Guardian
In early 2008, Bourne, Willis and ex-manager Richard Rashman faced a £10 million royalty battle with former members Ki McPhail and Owen Doyle who claimed to have written three of band's hit singles, "What I Go to School For", "Sleeping with the Light On" and "Year 3000", which rose to the top three in the UK charts, along with album track "Psycho Girl". McPhail and Doyle claimed that they had been forced to give up their rights to a number of songs and never received payment for them. But at the end of a fifteen day trial, on 6 June, it was announced that McPhail and Doyle had lost the battle, with the judge calling them both "unreliable witnesses".
In a statement after the trial McPhail and Doyle said that they would appeal the decision. "Owen, Ki and their families are very disappointed and frustrated at the judgment made here today," it said. "They came to court for justice and for the deserved recognition as co-writers of Busted's songs. "The judge has avoided making a decision on that point. So the case remains unresolved.
Reunion rumours (2010-11):
In 2010, some sources suggested that, after a £1 million offer, Busted will reform for a tour and possibly a new album. While Charlie quickly quashed rumours 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.", James wrote on his Twitter page, "I'll f*****g get up and do it any time, any day, anywhere."
Founding members listed in bold.
Matt Willis - vocals, bass guitar (previously drums) (2000-05),
James Bourne - vocals, guitar (2000-05),
Charlie Simpson - Vocals, guitar, keyboard, piano, harmonica, drums (2001-05),
Mark Dillon: vocals (2000),
Owen Doyle: bass, vocals (2000),
Ki McPhail: guitar, vocals (2000),
Tom Fletcher: guitar, vocals (2000)