It ain't easy going it alone - just ask former Busted superstar Charlie

On Reflection

Boyband Busted

Chris Wasser

Remember Busted? Of course you do. Three-spiky haired, guitar-slinging British teenagers who sang songs about fancying their teachers and sleeping with the lights on. How could we forget?

Whatever way you look at it, Busted, with their meticulously-crafted fashion sense (all blazers, denim and hair dye) and bona-fide pop star credentials (teenagers loved them), were in fact a boy band.

How and why did they split? Oh, the usual. In 2005 the good-looking one (Charlie Simpson) ran for the door, deciding he'd rather be a serious musician. Shock, horror, tears. So, how did it turn out?

Well, Charlie's former bandmates Matt Willis and James Bourne are currently laughing all the way to the bank with the arena-conquering 'supergroup' that is McBusted, and poor Simpson is playing an "intimate" show at the Sugar Club in Dublin this Saturday.

But hey, as a chiselled, folk-rock warrior with great hair and a couple of top-10 albums under his belt, we don't feel too bad for the guy. It ain't easy, you know, parting ways with the boys and going it alone.

Just ask this lot.

Gary Barlow (Take That): We were going to go with Robbie, but you know how that one turned out. True, Barlow eventually wormed his way back into our lives, but it must have sucked when the bloke's second solo album crashed in at the wrong end of the top-40 back in '99. Barlow and Take That? A winning combination. Out on his own? Ah, you'd miss Mark.

Ronan Keating (Boyzone): We're just going to put it out there - Life is a Rollercoaster is a damn fine pop song, and young Ronan was something of a proper superstar for a while.

Alas, the hits dried up and Keating is still plugging away at that old karaoke shtick with Mikey and Co. Somebody please make it stop.

Justin Timberlake (NSYNC): Now this is how you do it. It helps, of course, that Justin went and hired some of the finest R&B producers on the planet (Pharrell Williams and Timbaland) in his quest to, ahem, bring sexy back. And It worked. As a result, none of us can even remember how NSYNC used to sound.

Shane Filan (Westlife): This one is still up in the air. Louis Walsh told us he'd be the next Michael Buble. And yet, Shane Filan's debut solo album, You and Me, failed to do the business last year. Still, we'd take Filan over Kian Egan any day.

Harry Styles (One Direction): Okay, so we're getting a little ahead of ourselves here, but it's only a matter of time, isn't it? We'll come back to you.