Music / Busted
Left to Right: Charlie Simpson, Matt Willis, and James Bourne. Ms. Mackenzie was What they went to School For, they went to the Year 3000 (before the Jonas Brothers), and then they Crashed the Wedding. Now they wanna be On What You're On.

Busted are a British Pop Punk/Pop Rock Boy Band that formed in 2001, comprising of band members James Bourne, Charlie Simpson, and Matt Willis. They'd initially split up in 2005, due to Charlie wanting to focus on other music projects and the other two didn't want to continue the group without him. Simpson had quit the band and started the Post-Hardcore band Fightstar, as well as releasing a few solo albums, Bourne went on to form the Pop Punk band Son of Dork, which lasted three years before going on hiatus, and started a solo career under the name Future Boy (he really loves Back to the Future) and as himself, and Willis continued by himself solo.

Despite being mainly supplanted by Mc Fly in the public consciousness, they were influential at the time in bringing back guitar-driven Pop bands and had a great many copy-cat acts at the time. They were also the number one selling band in the UK for two years, outselling Coldplay.

They were best known for their songs "What I Go To School For" and "Year 3000" (both were later covered by The Jonas Brothers for their first album, albeit with altered lyrics due to a demographic shift), for providing the theme song for the live-action Thunderbirds movie, and in America for their reality show America or Busted.

In 2013, Bourne and Willis reformed the band and teamed up with McFly to form a new supergroup with called McBusted, toured from 2013 to 2015, and released one studio album named after the group. They were good friends with Mc Fly for years, as Tom Fetcher was briefly in Busted and wrote with them on many of their songs on their first few albums, so the team up made sense. Since this was only a temporary situation, the bands went their separate ways at the end of their 2015 tour, as well as a surprise for Busted, although they wouldn't mind reforming the group in the future or at least touring together again at some point.

In 2015 they reformed in their classic line-up, with a new album in preparation. This was accomplished after Bourne invited Simpson to come with him and Willis to Philadelphia to try to write songs in 2015. When this was successful, they subsequently started recording the songs in California and decided to reform the band, announcing a short reunion tour in late 2015, then they embarked on the Pigs Can Fly tour, referencing what Simpson had said years prior to the band reforming, released their third studio album as a band (in a different musical direction than what was probably expected), and toured around England, Scotland, and Ireland. They're currently writing and recording their fourth album in Los Angeles.

They've released 4 albums; 3 studio albums and 1 live album.

The group consists of:

  • James Bourne - vocals, guitar, keyboards (2000-5, 2015-present)
  • Charlie Simpson - vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums (2000-5, 2015-present)
  • Matt Willis - vocals, bass, (2000-5, 2015-present) drums (2000-2)


  • Busted (2002)
  • A Present for Everyone (2003)
  • A Ticket For Everyone: Busted Live (2004)
  • Night Driver (2016)


  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. This has even carried on into other bands and projects he's been involved with.
  • Boy Band: Often incorrectly labelled as one (even on this site), though you'd be forgiven for thinking so, as they were marketed as one back in the early-2000s when they started and their first album is rife with several songs taking cues from boy bands from the same time. Thankfully, they moved away from this after their first album, though they've always played their own instruments (including Charlie having always been credited as playing the drums on their albums, though he's also shown doing so in a few of their music videos) and written their own songs.
  • Break-Up Song: 'Over Now.'
  • Careful with That Axe: Charlie does a completely random scream just before one of the choruses of 'Air Hostess.' It's still his only recorded scream on a Busted album.
    • In live performances of '3am' Charlie tends to metal scream the final "Can't take much more"
  • Cross Dresser: Matt appears as the bride in 'Crashed The Wedding,' seemingly channeling Sam Fox.
  • Fading into the Next Song: 'Meet You There' slowly fades into 'Why' on the album 'A Present for Everyone.'
    • 'Air Hostess' also fades into the beginning of 'Crashed the Wedding' on the same album.
  • Hard Drinking Party Guy: Matt was nicknamed in British tabloids as "Beer Matt" for his many drunken incidents.
  • Hot for Student: The ending of 'What I Go To School For,' and its bookend-song 'Loser Kid.'
  • Hot for Teacher: The entire point of 'What I Go To School For.'
  • Mondegreen: In 'Air Hostess,' Matt slurs one of his lines; "Throwing peanuts down the aisle...", so more than a few people misheard him as saying "penis" instead.
    • In 'Crashed the Wedding,' Matt also pronounces the "J" in the line "Because I never got a J-O-B" in a way that makes it sound like he's pronouncing it like "G" instead for some reason.
  • Multicolored Hair: One of Matt's defining characteristics was to never have the same hair colour for any singles campaign.
  • New Sound Album: Their comeback album Night Driver. The album seems to have mostly abandoned the Pop Punk elements of their sound in favour of something more influenced by funk, electronica and synthpop. The influence of Gunship, the Retraux-styled synthwave side project of Charlie's Fightstar bandmates, is also noticeable on several songs.
    • Technically, A Present For Everyone could count as well, since their first album, while having some Pop Punk elements, was more in the vein of Boy Band Pop than Pop Punk. Their second dives fully into Pop Punk, while retaining their previous sound enough so they're still recognizable as the same band.
  • Performance Video: '3AM' and 'She Wants To Be Me' both had montage videos from their live DVD.
  • Precision F-Strike: In 'What Happened to Your Band,' James included the line, "They fuck with my mind and make me miserable."
    • Earlier on their second album, 'Who's David' includes the word "bitch" (though censored out of the album version) and in the original version of the chorus, they sang the line "You're just a whore, who sleeps around the town" instead of the album's version of the line.
    • They seem to do a bit more swearing nowadays, as their third album has songs with some light swearing at points.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: 'What Happened to Your Band' from Mc Busted's album was written after years of Matt and James being asked that same question by various fans of Busted.
  • Reality Show: America or Busted.
    • Post-Busted, Matt appeared on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and won after eating a kangaroo's anus. Considered by Matt to be his personal Old Shame.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: A strange example in that since they reformed, they made a reworked version of 'What I Go to School For' in a more Pop Punk/Alt Rock style for some reason. It sounds more like a cover from Punk Goes Pop now.
  • Screw Yourself: Matt kisses himself in the music video for 'Crashed The Wedding,' much to James and Charlie's character's suggested chagrin. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Shout-Out: James Bourne really likes this trope.
    • 'Year 3000' contained references to Back to the Future, as shown in the page quote. It also referenced Michael Jackson. The Jonas Brothers' cover got in on it too with some of the changed lines, changing Michael Jackson to Kelly Clarkson...for some reason and the "triple-breasted women" line, a likely reference to Total Recall (1990), was changed to a reference to Star Wars.
    • 'Dawson's Geek' is, you guessed it, a reference to someone who's obsessed with Dawson's Creek, even containing a slight rendition to the show's theme song and a parody of the chorus of that song.
    • 'Crashed the Wedding' was written as a shout out to The Graduate and the first line of the lyrics, "I'm so rushed off my feet, looking for Gordon Street" is one to Wayne's World 2.
    • 'Fake' contained shout-outs to When Harry Met Sally..., and 'Britney' contained shout-outs to both the titular Ms Spears and *NSYNC.
    • McBusted's song 'Air Guitar' has the line, "Jimmy Page and Brian May won't believe the way that I can play my air guitar."
  • Slash Fic: They were a boyband, of course there was slash-fic. (When questioned on it, Matt and James decided to Ship Tease by declaring mutual love on their arms.)
  • Spiritual Successor: McFly were considered to be Busted's successors (and were even nicknamed in the British Press as "Baby Busted" when they first hit the big time). Considering that Tom Fletcher was briefly in Busted, it makes sense.
    • Also, Son Of Dork, a short-lived band founded by Bourne, whose music was very similar to Busted.
    • All Time Low can be seen as this crossed with (albeit delayed) Transatlantic Equivalent, though they're more influenced by blink-182 and probably never heard a Busted song outside of maybe the Jonas Brothers' covers of a few of their songs like most Americans, though Alex Gaskarth is British-American, since he was born in the UK, but moved to America when he was 7. It's safe to assume that if Busted's third album came out a few years after their second, they'd likely have evolved their sound in a similar way to All Time Low, since they produced high-energy Pop Punk music and All Time Low could cover any pre-2016 Busted song without crediting them and most people probably wouldn't bat an eye because of how similarly both bands wrote their lyrics and produced their music up until that point.
  • Supergroup: Matt and James joined McFly to become McBusted from 2013-2015, though they also performed 2 Busted songs and 1 McFly track at McFly's 10th anniversary concert and are credited both onstage and on the audio releases as McBusted before that.
  • Stalker with a Crush: 'She Wants to be Me' was about this.
  • Video Full of Film Clips: 'Thunderbirds are Go.'
  • Vocal Tag Team: Possibly one of the most well-known examples amongst British pop music.
  • Wedding Smashers: Their 2003 song 'Crashed the Wedding' was about a guy who stormed into his ex-girlfriend's wedding to get back together with her.