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John Lennon reconnected with one of his closest childhood friends while he was in The Beatles. Though they hadn’t seen each other in years, he made his friend a promise. Not long after, Lennon followed through on his promise, completely changing the course of his friend’s life. Here’s what he did to support his friend, who admitted he was going down the wrong path.

A black and white picture of John Lennon wearing a checked shirt and sitting by a window.
John Lennon | Michael Putland/Getty Images

John Lennon met a close friend while growing up

In 1983, Pete Shotton wrote a book about his friendship with Lennon in which he admitted that he couldn’t remember a time when he didn’t know the musician. They met as children and quickly grew close.

“My memories of the two of us go back so far that I barely remember a time when there was no John Lennon in my life,” he wrote, per Billboard.

They went to school together, and Shotton admitted that he likely would have been a much better-behaved student without Lennon’s influence.

“With two of you, it’s a lot easier to stick to what you believe in,” he said in The Beatles: The Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies. “When you’ve had a bad time, there’s someone to laugh with. It was laughs all the time. We never stopped, all the way through school. It was great.”

John Lennon changed his friend’s life by giving him a job

Shotton and Lennon fell out of contact, but they had a chance meeting in 1965 and rebuilt their friendship. Lennon promised his longtime friend he would support him in any business venture he wanted. Shotton followed up on Lennon’s promise while on vacation.

“I was on holiday in Hampshire when I noticed this supermarket on Hayling Island,” Shotton said. “I liked the look of it. So John bought it for me to run. It cost £20,000.”

Shotton admitted that this completely changed his life.

“If John hadn’t come along then, I might have ended up a crook,” he said. “This is what John says he might have ended up himself. I had no money at all. I was getting into lots of shady deals and meeting bad people through the cafés.”

After he successfully ran the supermarket for two years, Shotton left, leaving the store in his mother’s control. Lennon invited him to work for Apple Corps, so he became the manager of the first Apple Boutique in London.

He proved one of his aunt’s complaints about him right

Lennon’s aunt Mimi Smith said that one of her biggest complaints about her nephew was that he was too willing to give money away. She believed he was generous to a fault.

“He’s too soft over money,” she told Davies. “He’s an easy touch. Generous beyond belief. I’m always telling him.”


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Lennon’s generosity toward Shotton proved Smith was right when she said he was generous. This trait wasn’t the bad thing she made it out to be, though. Lennon completely altered the course of Shotton’s life. By spending money to support him, Lennon proved that he was a good friend to Shotton, even after childhood and fame. He had more money than he could spend, and he put it to good use.