Pete Shotton was John Lennon's best childhood friend, and chief partner in mischief-making as the lads created trouble at school and in their Liverpool suburb. When Lennon decided to form a group in 1957, the only other member to begin with was Shotton. Lennon would play guitar; Shotton would play the washboard, in the fashion of many other skiffle groups of the period. The group was soon filled out by other members on guitar, drums, and other instruments, and named the Quarrymen, in honor of their school, Quarry Bank High School for Boys. Shotton had primarily joined the band because he was Lennon's mate, and lacked musical skill or an aptitude for performing. It therefore came as a relief to him, he has said, when, after only a short time in the band, Lennon smashed the washboard over Shotton's head at an early gig, ending Pete's brief career in the Quarrymen.
Shotton remained friendly with Lennon, although the ties loosened as the Quarrymen became the Beatles, and then became stars and moved away from Liverpool. Lennon helped Shotton out in the 1960s, first by buying a supermarket for him to run on Hayling Island, and then bringing him into Apple to run Apple Retail. He co-wrote a book on his times with Lennon, John Lennon: In My Life, with author Nicholas Schaffner. He was not involved in the Quarrymen reunion recording Open for Engagements in 1994. But he did take a washboard on-stage to play with ex-Quarrymen Rod Davis, Len Garry, Eric Griffiths, and Colin Hanton on the 40th anniversary of the Quarrymen gig at which John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met. Pete Shotton died at his home in Knutsford, Cheshire, England in March 2017 at the age of 75.