The actors portraying Lennon, McCartney, and George Harrison (as well as the other members of the Quarrymen) performed some songs in the film, and a few of those songs are included on the soundtrack. Their largely unpolished feel actually works well for them, as The Quarrymen began as essentially a garage band.
Billed as the Nowhere Boys, the group faithfully recreates songs from the Quarrymen's set list such as "Raunchy" (the song Harrison used to audition for the band) and "Maggie Mae," (showing the influence of "skiffle," a then-popular conglomeration of rock, folk, blues, and jazz). They even record versions of "That'll Be the Day" and "In Spite of All the Danger" (The Quarrymen's first recordings), and "Hello Little Girl," the first song Lennon and McCartney wrote together. For the original versions of these songs, including their cover of "That'll Be the Day," check out The Beatles' Anthology 1.
Interestingly, the album also includes Lennon's "Mother" from his landmark John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. The soundtrack offers an alternate take, but the song still contains Lennon's anguish and conflicting emotions concerning his parents. Since the film portrays Lennon's strained relationships with his mother and Aunt Mimi, with whom he lived, it makes sense to include the track. When he practically screams "Mama don't go/Daddy come home," the listener can still feel the pain he experienced upon losing his mother at a young age (his mother, Julia, was run over by an off-duty cop in Liverpool). Almost 40 years later, Lennon's raw vocals and piercing lyrics still send shivers down the spine.
While the Nowhere Boys covers are serviceable, it's the original 50s hits that stand out on the soundtrack. Anyone looking for an education in early rock—and to fully experience the rawness of the music—should add Nowhere Boy to their library. Some of the cuts are hard to find, and thus are conveniently compiled on this album. Don't miss the opportunity to not only learn about how The Beatles formed their music, but how 50s rock still sounds gritty and dangerous today.
For more information on Nowhere Boy, visit the film's official website.