Friday, April 10, 2009

Beatle People: Pete Shotton

Peter Shotton (born 4 August 1941 in Liverpool) is an English businessman best known for his long friendship with John Lennon of The Beatles. Generally referred to as "Pete," he was a close boyhood friend of Lennon's, and also attended the Dovedale Infants School and Quarry Bank schools.

Shotton was Lennon's bandmate in The Quarrymen, playing percussion (specifically, a washboard), until Paul McCartney joined. He was "fired" from the band when, after confiding in John that he really did not enjoy playing, Lennon smashed the washboard over his head at a party. However, he remained a friend and confidant—as he became with all of the Beatles as the group formed.

After they became stars, Lennon and George Harrison bought a supermarket on Hayling Island, and gave it to Shotton to manage. Later, he served as manager of the Apple Boutique, then as the first managing director of Apple Corps.

Shotton regularly visited Lennon's house (Kenwood) on weekends, leaving his wife and young son at home to keep Lennon company, or escort Cynthia Lennon for a night out when her husband was busy with band matters or songwriting.

Shotton had a minor, but uncredited, role in the Beatles' music. He was occasionally invited to observe them recording at Abbey Road Studios, and played percussion (maracas, tambourine) on a few records. Shotton also helped Lennon with the lyrics to "I Am the Walrus" (remembering a nonsense rhyme they had loved as boys) and McCartney with the storyline of "Eleanor Rigby" (he suggested that the two lonely people in the song meet, but too late).

After Lennon began a relationship with Yoko Ono, and Apple started to founder as the group grew apart, Shotton parted company with Lennon and the Beatles, resuming management of the Hayling Island supermarket, which he continued to run until the late 1970s. He then began the Fatty Arbuckle's chain of restaurants, which were later sold for an undisclosed sum. He later moved to Dublin, Ireland, living as a tax exile.

Upon hearing the news that Lennon had been murdered in December 1980, Shotton visited Harrison at Friar Park, Harrison's home.

Shotton is the co-author of John Lennon: In My Life (1983, republished later as The Beatles, Lennon and Me), which told the (unexpurgated) story of their friendship, from the age of six until Lennon's death in 1980.


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