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John Lennon may have never started his first band, The Quarrymen, without best friend Pete Shotton

John Lennon Quarrymen

Sad news in the Beatles community to hear that Pete Shotton, John Lennon’s best friend growing up, died on March 24, 2017. He was 75 years old, born in 1941 – surprising that he was one year younger than John Lennon, since they were best friends in school.

Pete and John met in Sunday school when they were respectively, 6 and 7 years old. They also lived close to each other in Liverpool. They formed a small rowdy group of boys from the neighborhood which also included Nigel Whalley and Ivan Vaughn, who would play a pivotal role in Beatles history when he introduced Paul McCartney to John Lennon in 1957.

John and Pete’s childhood and teenage friendship, which lasted through high school and adulthood, was depicted in the film, Nowhere Boy, which showed how John was the instigator of the two:

John Lennon insisted on Shotton’s participation as a member of his first band, The Quarrymen skiffle group. Pete was assigned the washboard. It wasn’t so much Shotton’s musical ability (which was lacking) but more having the support of his friend in the band. In fact, without Pete, John may have never pursued starting the group.

According to Pete: “Had I categorically said no, John would almost certainly have shelved the whole idea of forming a group… I don’t mean to imply that there was anything special about me… It’s just that John and I were so inseparable at the time, it would have been inconceivable for either of us to get involved in something the other wasn’t keen on doing.”

John Lennon and Pete Shotton

Although Pete’s time with Quarrymen only lasted a year, he became an invaluable eyewitness to history. He observed John’s relationship with his birth mother, Julia, for several years before she died when John was 17. Pete was also the one who officially asked a 15-year-old Paul McCartney to join the Quarrymen.

In his insightful book about his friendship with John Lennon, Shotton recounts all the early rock and roll influences that John Lennon experienced. His book is regarded as one of the 10 best Beatles books of all time according to Rolling Stone.

Pete Shotton bookThe original title of Shotton’s book was John Lennon In My Life. It first came out in 1983 and was then re-issued a year later as The Beatles, Lennon and Me. It was co-written with Nicholas Schaffner, who was also the author of the great book, The Beatles Forever.

In his book, for example, Shotton offers behind-the-scenes truths of how The Quarrymen members evolved into The Beatles. Since Pete was one of the few people that was extremely close to John, he was able to offer insights into Lennon’s psyche.

“Neither Paul nor George would have lasted very long in John’s band… had John not come to like them so much as people,” Shotton explained. “Most of the other original members were gradually frozen out of the picture, not so much for lack of musical promise, but simply because John found them a bore.”

After Lennon became a superstar, he still maintained his friendship with Shotton, who was also there when John began his relationship with Yoko. Pete describes when the couple spent their first night together in this interview he did in the 1980s:

The last time Pete saw John was in the summer of 1976 when he visited with John and Yoko in New York City.

Reacting to John’s shocking murder in 1980, Shotton wrote in his book, “What a life.” Then on the next page which is the end of the book, he wrote: “What a fucking ending.”

Sean Lennon posted a photo on Instagram about Shotton’s passing:
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New online course traces The Fab Four’s origins from Quarrymen to Beatles

Universities around the globe are offering classes on The Beatles for hundreds and thousands of dollars per semester – but what about the rest of us? What are your options if you’re not in school, or you can’t attend the location where the class is being offered?

To solve this dilemma, Daytrippin’ School of Rock History now brings the college class into the homes of Beatles fans around the world in the form of an online community. Accessible 24/7 from your laptop, tablet or smartphone, music lovers can go deeper into the study of The Fab Four and how they created their music.

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Daytrippin’ publisher and course instructor Trina Yannicos is excited to offer Beatles fans a chance to share ideas and learn fascinating discoveries online for much less than it would cost to take a college class.

In The Early Beatles class, you’ll learn the history of the early Beatles from 1956 to 1962 — from the formation of The Quarrymen to The Beatles’ first recording session at Abbey Road Studios.

The Beatles recording career has been well documented but what about the period before The Beatles got a record contract and hit it big?

“Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles,” John Lennon stated matter-of-factly in a 1980 interview.

You love The Beatles’ music, but do you really know what inspired The Beatles and how the group was formed?

To truly appreciate The Beatles and their music, you need to understand the group’s origins and the impact that Presley and other rock and roll artists had on the group.

In The Early Beatles course, you’ll go back in time to the 1950s and watch the transformation of John, Paul, George and later Ringo take place from the formation of The Quarrymen to The Beatles’ first recording session at Abbey Road Studios.

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