Before there was Paul & Stu, there was Pete. John in the height of Beatlemania, if I remember right, gave him money to start a grocery store. He contributed to some songs, which escape me right now even if uncredited.
Sad day in Beatledom.
Tributes have been paid to Pete Shotton, the best friend of John Lennon, who has died aged 75.
It is thought he died from a heart attack at his home in Knutsford, Cheshire and funeral arrangements are currently being made.
Pete attended Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School alongside the future Beatle, and he later joined John – as a washboard player – in The Quarrymen.
At school the inseparable friends came to be known as “Shennon and Lotton” or “Lotton and Shennon.”
Pete, with the financial backing of his long-time friend, bought a supermarket in Hayling Island, near Portsmouth, and later founded and built up the successful Fatty Arbuckle’s chain of restaurants, which he sold in the early 2000s.
Pete was the co-author of John Lennon: In My Life, which was published in 1983, and later republished as The Beatles, Lennon and Me.
He remained close to John during The Beatles’ heyday, and his step son, Phillip Gouldbourn, told the ECHO: “One thing he was really proud of was that he was at times the only person, outside The Beatles and the producer, engineer and technicians, who was allowed in the studio with the band when they were recording.”
Pete, who had a son, step son and two grandchildren, even enjoyed a songwriting role with the Fab Four. He contributed to the 1967 song I am The Walrus after visiting John at his home, Kenwood, in Weybridge, Surrey.
As he was piecing the song together, John asked his old school friend about a playground nursery rhyme they used to sing, and Pete recalled it as “Yellow matter custard, green slop pie/All mixed together with a dead dog’s eye/Slap it on a butty, 10 foot thick/Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick.”
Phillip added: “He remained close to John until Yoko Ono came on the scene. He said she took him from being a pop star to an artist and he respected that and took a back seat.”
Bill Harry, founder of the Mersey Beat newspaper and a close friend of John’s at Liverpool College of Art, said: “Pete was the closest friend John ever had, apart from The Beatles. John respected Pete because he stood up to him and could be a bit like John – a bit sarcastic and moody. John went to Pete for advice on lots of things, and their friendship from schooldays continued right through the 1960s. And I know they did meet up in New York in the 1970s.”
After leaving school, Pete became a police cadet, but this didn’t work out.
Bill added: “John set him on the road in his business and Pete, who had a very active personality, became a tremendously successful businessman.”
And Carl Cookson, who was a friend and neighbour of Pete’s in Knutsford, said: “He was a very modest and unassuming man – a really warm and nice person.”