Formed in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, the original lineup featured brothers Brian O'Neal (keyboards, vocals) and Kevin O'Neal (bass, vocals), Gus Louderman (vocals), Mike Jones (keyboards, vocals), Vic Johnson (guitar), and Steve Felix (drums). All of the original band's members were African-American except Felix, who is of Hispanic heritage.
The group is best known for their appearance in the 1982 film 48 Hrs., in which they performed their songs "New Shoes" and "The Boys Are Back in Town" (the latter song is also heard during the closing credits). The band opened for the film's costar, comedian Eddie Murphy, during his subsequent Delirious standup comedy tour—during which he referred to them throughout the program—including an hour-long special that aired on HBO. On January 29, 1983, the BusBoys were also musical guests on an episode of Saturday Night Live with Murphy singing background vocals for the band.
A follow-up song, "Cleanin' Up the Town," written for the soundtrack to the 1984 film Ghostbusters, was a minor hit for the group, reaching #68 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart in the United States. The album was nominated for a Grammy award.
The BusBoys' first two albums on Arista Records, Minimum Wage Rock & Roll and American Worker, both reached the Billboard 200 chart.
On February 29, 1988, they released a third album entitled Money Don't Make No Man with a more synth-funk feel. The track "Never Giving Up" featured Eddie Murphy prominently during the chorus. Murphy also appeared in the music video to support the album release and the song release. The music video was shot at "The Palace," which is now known as "Avalon," on Vine Street in Hollywood,