Follow TV Tropes


Music / Busted

Go To
We're glad they crashed the wedding. From left to right: Matt, Charlie and James.

Busted are a British Pop Punk/Pop Rock Boy Band that formed in 2001, comprising 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 McFly and Scissor Sisters 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), and for covering Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians in America for Disneymania 2 and their own TV show on the Disney Channel.

In 2013, Bourne and Willis reformed the band and teamed up with McFly to form a new supergroup called McBusted, toured from 2013 to 2015, and released one studio album named after the group. They were good friends with McFly 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.

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. A fourth album, Half Way There was released in 2019.

Additionally, Willis has carved out a career as an actor + TV personality after winning I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2006, appearing in roles in EastEnders and Birds of a Feather. In 2023, Simpson won the fourth season of The Masked Singer (UK), competing as the Rhino.

They've released 5 albums; 4 studio albums and 1 live album. They also released an album, sans Simpson, with McFly as the supergroup McBusted.

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)
  • McBusted (2014) (with McFly, sans Simpson)
  • Night Driver (2016)
  • Half Way There (2019)


  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. This has even carried on into other bands and projects he's been involved with.
  • Boy Band: 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.
  • Body Snatcher: The last verse of "She Wants to Be Me" indicates that the crazy girlfriend and the singer somehow switched bodies after the girl slowly morphed into him over the course of the song and the guy is now locked in a mental ward by her while she's living it up as him.
  • Bowdlerise: The Busted version of "What Happened to Your Band?" included on Half Way There removed the Precision F-Strike present on the McBusted version.
  • The Cameo: Harry Judd from Mc Fly played the drummer in the background for the video for "Crashed the Wedding".
  • 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".
    • "Nineties" has Charlie do some pretty powerful screams, possibly hearkening back to 90s Alt. Rock vocalists.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The "Radio" music video features the car from the "What I Go to School For" music video.
    • The "Nineties" music video has them, in some shots, wearing their old school uniforms from the "What I Go to School For" music video stated above and the video even begins very similarly, with James, Matt, and Charlie sitting in a school classroom. Possibly lampshaded with the extras clearly being people college age or older as well.
  • Cover Version: They covered Atomic Kitten's hit 'Whole Again' in the US.
  • Cross Dresser:
    • Matt appears as the bride in "Crashed the Wedding", seemingly channeling Sam Fox.
    • Charlie in the same video and the one for 'Nineties.'
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Busted was originally a five piece band, with Matt Willis as the band's drummer instead of the band's bassist. He didn't switch to bass until 2002, when Owen Doyle left.
  • 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.
  • Genre Shift: From pop on their self-titled album, to a more Pop Punk oriented sound on A Present for Everyone.
  • Hard Drinking Party Guy: Matt was nicknamed in British tabloids as "Beer Matt" for his many drunken incidents.
  • Lyric Swap: In "Crashed the Wedding", the original chorus of, "And I'm glad I crashed the wedding/It's better than regretting/I could have been a loser kid/Who ran away and hid/I said I'd do it and I did. 'Cause true love lasts forever/And now we're back together/As if he never met her/So looking back/I'm glad I crashed the wedding" to, "She's glad I crashed the wedding/It's better than regretting/The ring she got was lame/She couldn't take the pain/She didn't wanna silly second name. 'Cause true love lasts forever (True love lasts forever)/And now we're back together/You might as well forget her/And walk away/She's glad I crashed the wedding."
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Charlie, although he doesn't get to showcase it very much in Busted. In Fightstar it's not uncommon for him to be screaming his ass off one line and then performing an angelic chorus the next.
  • Mood Whiplash: "What Happened to Your Band" is very out of place on McBusted's album, being the only serious song on an album of light-hearted Pop Punk and Pop Rock music. Hell, it's sandwiched in between "Hate Your Guts" and "Get Over It". That should sum up the point right there. However, it fits better on Busted's 4th album, which is composed mostly of serious Nostalgia songs.
  • Mythology Gag: Halfway There is named as such specifically because "Year 3000" bragged about the band's seventh album outselling Michael Jackson, and Halfway There marks the point in which Busted are, well, halfway there. This was confirmed by James on Twitter.
    James: "Night Driver is 3, halfway through 4 gets you to 3.5 (hence the 10 song tracklist) 3.5 X 2 = 7".
  • New Sound Album:
    • Technically, A Present For Everyone counts, 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.
    • Their comeback album Night Driver. The album mostly abandoned the Pop Punk elements of their original sound in favour of something more influenced by funk, electronica and synthpop. The influence of Gunship, the Retraux-styled synth-wave side project of Charlie's Fightstar bandmates, is also noticeable on several songs. They would go on to return their Pop Punk roots on Halfway There, so it seems that their 3rd album was just an experiment in that sound and nothing too permanent.
  • Performance Video: "3AM" and "She Wants To Be Me" both had montage videos from their live DVD.
  • Precision F-Strike: The McBusted version of "What Happened to Your Band" included the line, "They fuck with my mind and make me miserable."
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • McBusted formed because Bourne and Willis wanted to reunite but Simpson refused, so they instead collaborated with Mc Fly on the supergroup.
    • "What Happened to Your Band" was written after years of James being asked that same question by various fans of Busted and older people he knew.
  • Reality Show:
    • America or Busted, which chronicled their attempt at breaking into the American charts.
    • Post-Busted, Matt appeared on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, and won after (among other things) eating a kangaroo's anus.
    • In 2023, Charlie competed on, and won, Series 4 of The Masked Singer (UK) as the Rhino.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Song:
    • "Loser Kid" is one to "What I Go to School for" with the two songs bookending their self-titled album
    • "Shipwrecked in Atlantis" is one to "Air Hostess".
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Year 3000" contained references to Back to the Future, as shown in the page quote. It also referenced Michael Jackson, and the line referring to a "triple-breasted women" was a reference to Total Recall (1990).
    • "Dawson's Geek" is, you guessed it, a reference to someone who's obsessed with Dawson's Creek, even containing a slight rendition of the show's theme song and a parody of the chorus of that song at the same time.
    • "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"' has shout-outs to When Harry Met Sally....
    • "Britney" has 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."
    • Their song, "On What You're On" references Bruce Springsteen's song, "Born to Run".
    • Their song "Nineties" shouts out The Goonies, Hypercolor, Oasis, Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Michael Jackson, Macaulay Culkin, Roller City, and Saved by the Bell.
      • The music video shouts out Westlife, Muse, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Top of the Pops, and even has the guys dressing up and referencing their 'What I Go to School For' music video from 2002, which was still pretty 90s in the musicality.
    • The album cover for Half Way There is one to The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night.
  • 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.)
  • Supergroup: Matt and James joined McFly to become McBusted from 2013-2015.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "She Wants to Be Me" was about this.
  • Strictly Formula: On their fourth album, 9 out of the 10 songs have the structure of James or Matt singing the main verses, or parts of them, while Charlie sings the choruses and some backing vocals. This is in stark contrast to where, on their first 3 albums, Charlie sang at least one or two verses per song and Matt or James sang some of the choruses.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: "What I Go To School For" is about a male student with a crush on a teacher who finds out she feels the same way and the pair run away together. "Loser Kid" from the same album reveals that they end up living together.
  • Title by Year: "Year 3000" where a Time Machine takes the band to said year.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Possibly one of the most well-known examples amongst British pop music.
  • Wedding Smashers: "Crashed the Wedding" is about a guy who stormed into his ex-girlfriend's wedding to win her back.