If you’re a fan of The Beatles, 60’s music, classic Rock and Roll, or music themed films, then you’ll be in for a treat this Boxing Day as ‘Nowhere Boy’ is released in the cinemas. The film charts the teenage years of the then unknown singer/musician John Lennon, and features his first musical adventure with a band called ‘The Quarrymen’. This is where his story reaches more familiar territory, as this band brings him into contact with George Harrison and Paul McCartney, whom he eventually travels to Hamburg with, as The Beatles.
The soundtrack to the film has just been released by Sony Music, and what a bundle of fun it is. There are two discs here, the first runs through all the music from the film, while the second takes a look at other songs that inspired a young John Lennon, or were around during his teenage years. The end result is a release that is true to the era in which it’s set, with tight production/instrumentation, which in most cases stays true to the original versions. The late 50’s early 60’s saw the beginnings of Rock and Roll, and this mean’t lots of double bass and piano, very rhythmic drum patterns, and a beat that everyone can tap their toes along to.
Even though I wasn’t a 60’s child (not that old thank goodness!), I found myself recognising quite a few of the songs, and artists, and I think this will be the case for quite a wide range of ages/listeners. CD 1 is the most varied in terms of tempo, with some lively, upbeat numbers, sitting alongside some slower, more bluesy tracks. Standout moments include the quite forceful vocal performances of Wanda Jackson on ‘Hard Headed Woman’, and Big Mama Thornton giving a rather unique rendition of ‘Hound Dog’. There’s also a few numbers performed by ‘The Nowhere Boys’ who take on the roles of ‘The Quarrymen’ in the film, and who sound like they belong in the 60’s too! Standing out among all these classics was ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ by Gene Vincent, and the reflective John Lennon classic ‘Mother’.
I think it’s safe to say I did feel something of a connection with CD 1, but I had much more fun with CD 2. There were a lot of danceable, upbeat tracks to enjoy, and some like ‘Brand New Cadillac’ added a bit of Funk to their Rock and Roll. Other highlights include ‘Let The Good Times Roll’ from Shirley and Lee, which put me in mind of the music in Chicago, and ‘Aint That A Shame’ from Fats Domino, which reminds me of ‘Hillybilly Blues’, with a slight Country/Western style vibe. My final pick would have to be Frankie Vaughan with ‘These Dangerous Years’. The swing/big band style, added a bit more variety to the disc which I very much enjoyed.
There are over 30 tracks in all on this album, which will serve well as a trip back to the 50’s/60’s, or as an introduction to the music of those eras. It’s a fun CD, that I think will appeal to a wide range of people, and I look forward to seeing them film at some point, to see if the songs fit into the film in the way that I imagine them to. If you’re looking for a movie soundtrack that will bring up all kinds of thoughts, memories, and ideas, then I would say this is a pretty safe bet.
The Nowhere Boy Soundtrack is available now, with the film released to UK audiences from Boxing Day 2009.