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ON THIS DAY: PETE SHOTTON PASSED AWAY

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Peter Shotton (4 August 1941 – 24 March 2017) was an English businessman and former washboard player. He is known for his long friendship with John Lennon of The Beatles. He was a member of The Quarrymen, the precursor of the Beatles, and remained close to the group during their career.

He built an independent career as a restaurant manager, eventually founding the Fatty Arbuckle’s chain of restaurants.

Shotton, born in Liverpool to George and Bessie (née Wilson) Shotton, was a close childhood friend of John Lennon, and attended Dovedale Infants School and Quarry Bank Grammar School at the same time as the future Beatle. The two boys were frequently in trouble with their teachers and with their headmasters, often being caned by the headmaster as punishment for their various misdeeds, and they came to be known at Quarry Bank as “Shennon and Lotton” or “Lotton and Shennon.”

In 1957, Shotton was Lennon’s bandmate in The Quarrymen, playing percussion (specifically, a washboard), until Paul McCartney joined. Shotton was “fired” from the band when, after confiding 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 friends with all of the Beatles as the group formed.
During the Beatles’ career

Shotton regularly visited Lennon’s house (Kenwood) on weekends to keep Lennon company, leaving his wife and young son at home, or to 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’ songs: 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). Shotton also recalls Lennon squinting at the words of a Victorian-era poster for Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal that hung in Lennon’s music room at Kenwood while he worked out the tune for “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”. According to writer Stan Williams, Shotton’s wife Beth is the “pretty nurse” selling poppies mentioned in the lyrics of “Penny Lane”.

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

After Lennon began a relationship with Yoko Ono and Apple started to flounder, Shotton parted company with Lennon and the Beatles. He resumed his ownership of the Hayling Island supermarket, which he continued to run until the late 1970s. He then began the Fatty Arbuckle’s chain of restaurants, a franchise designed to bring the feel of the American diner to Britain. The franchise was highly successful in the 1980s and was 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 on 8 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 story of their friendship, from the age of six until Lennon’s death.

Shotton died of a heart attack on 24 March 2017 at his home in Knutsford, Cheshire.


THE GIBSON J-160E JOHN LENNON 70TH ANNIVERSARY MUSEUM MODEL⠀

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The 70th Anniversary John Lennon J-160E is built in the exacting image of the groundbreaking original J-160E of the 1950s and ’60s. Much as with the design of the archetypal jazz guitar, the ES-175, just a few years before, Gibson applied a great deal of forward-looking, out-of-the-box thinking to the design of the J-160E in 1954. Prior to the arrival of this guitar, players of acoustic flat-tops struggled to be heard on stage, performing into inefficient microphones or hassling with add-on soundhole pickups that usually faired little better. ⠀

To build one of the world’s first truly successful electro-acoustic guitars, Gibson re-drew the blueprint: it crafted a three-layer laminated Sitka spruce top with ladder bracing specifically to resist feedback, used a mahogany back and sides for added warmth and richness added an adjustable bridge, and installed a P-90 pickup (without traditional cover) beneath the top at the end of the fingerboard, along with a single volume and tone control and a 1/4″ output jack. In addition, the guitar’s solid mahogany neck was attached at the 15th fret to give performers plenty of access to the highest of the instrument’s jumbo frets. ⠀

Other historically accurate details on the 70th Anniversary John Lennon J-160E models include its laminated Sitka spruce top, multi-ply top binding, single-ply back binding, traditional soundhole rosette, bone nut, comfortable rounded neck profile, and period-correct adjustable acoustic guitar bridge. In remembrance of John Lennon, the guitars’ headstocks are inlaid with John Lennon’s signature, and their Indian rosewood fingerboards carry mother-of-pearl trapezoid inlays with Lennon’s date of birth inscribed at the 12th-fret marker.”

JOHN LENNON: “MY NAME ISN’T JOHN BEATLE…IT’S JOHN LENNON”

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In December 1970, just months after the break up of The Beatles was announced, John Lennon sat down with Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner alongside his wife, Yoko Ono, for an exclusive and wide-ranging interview.

The meeting, which was initially arranged as an attempt for Lennon to promote his album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, originally resulted in an outpouring of emotion from John who openly discussed ex-bandmates, drug consumption, music, art, politics and more.

The interview, which Wenner had initially planned to run as a front-cover story for the Rolling Stone magazine, took on a whole new entity of its own and was re-published as the book Lennon Remembers without the Liverpudlian’s consent and remains a hugely influential turning point in the development of music journalism. “Initially published on the twentieth anniversary of his death, this candid book reveals new information on the breakup of the Beatles, fellow musicians such as Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, Lennon’s attitudes towards revolution and drugs, and his relationship with Yoko Ono,” the book synopsis reads.

In the interview, John offers cutting comments about major figures of the music industry with the likes of George Martin, Mick Jagger, Derek Taylor and more coming in for criticism. “I was very incensed about that interview. I think everybody was. I think he slagged off everybody, including the Queen of England. I don’t think anyone escaped his attention,” Beatles producer Martin said later.

John confirmed that band were over for good: “I’m not going to record with another egomaniac,” he insisted. “There is only room for one on an album nowadays. There is no point, there is just no point at all. There was a reason to do it at one time, but there is no reason to do it anymore.”.“My name isn’t John Beatle,” he pointed out at one point. “It’s John Lennon.”

Listen to the full interview, HERE.

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JOHN LENNON´S LITHOGRAPHIC MEMORABILIA EXPOSED AFTER MANY TIMES

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The official and verified Instagram page of The Beatles icon John Lennon exposed special memorabilia of lithographic plates written by John Lennon.

In the caption of the picture, It is stated that this exclusive plate was written by John in February 1969 as a part of the ‘Bag One’ collection. The stone was printed by Curwen Studio in London, and also it’s signed and dated.

Here is what John Lennon wrote onto the stone:

“THIS IS MY STORY, 1969⠀
A is for Parrot which we can plainly see⠀
B is for glasses which we can plainly see⠀
C is for plastic which we can plainly see⠀
D is for Doris⠀
E is for binoculars I’ll get in five⠀
F is for Ethel who lives next door⠀
G is for orange because we love to eat when we can get them because they come from abroad⠀
H is for England and (Heather)⠀
I is for monkey we see in the tree⠀
J is for parrot which we can plainly see⠀
K is for shoetop we wear to the ball⠀
L is for Land because brown⠀
M is for Venezula where the oranges come from⠀
N is for Brazil near Venezuela (very near)⠀
O is for football which we kick about a bit⠀
T is for Tommy who won the war⠀
Q is a garden which we can plainly see⠀
R is for intestines which hurt when we dance⠀
S is for pancake or whole-wheat bread⠀
U is for Ethel who lives on the hill⠀
P is Arab and her sister will⠀
V is for me⠀
W is for lighter which never lights⠀
X is for easter–have one yourself⠀
Y is a crooked letter and you can’t straighten it⠀
Z is for Apple which we can plainly see⠀

This is my story both humble and true. Take it to pieces and mend it with glue. John Lennon 1969 Feb

Written by John Lennon directly onto lithographic plates. Printed by Curwen Studio, London. Zinc lithograph on BFK Rives paper mounted on cardboard. Stone signed and dated. Part of the ‘Bag One’ collection by John Lennon.”


JOHN LENNON AT THE JOHN SINCLAIR FREEDOM RALLY IN ANN ARBOR

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John had heard about the plight of John Sinclair in 1971. Sinclair was chairman of the Rainbow People’s Party of Ann Arbor and was serving an unjust ten years in Jackson State Prison for possession of two marijuana joints. The People’s Party did their best to bring attention to their cause by holding concerts, benefits, and rallies, and they even got a handful of celebrities involved, like actor Donald Sutherland, Jane Fonda, and others. After Yippie activist Jerry Rubin told John Lennon about an upcoming December 10 rally for Sinclair, John wrote a song about Sinclair that can be found on his Sometime in New York City album.

The rally was to be held at UM’s Crisler Arena, and John said he would donate his performance fee to the John Sinclair Freedom Fund.

Two days before the concert, a press conference was held, where John Lennon would appear. A recording was played for the press with John Lennon saying  “Hello, this is John with Yoko here. I just want to say we’re coming along to the John Sinclair bust fund rally to say hello. I won’t be bringing a band or nothing like that because I’m only here as a tourist, but I’ll probably fetch me guitar, and I know we have a song that we wrote for John. So that’s that.”

The rally went on as planned, selling out the arena. Along with John & Yoko were plenty of other speakers and performers, including Bob Seger, Commander Cody, and a surprise appearance by Stevie Wonder. Aside from his music, Stevie got the crowd on his feet when he stated, “We are in a very troublesome time today in the world. A time in which a man can get 12 years in prison for possession of marijuana, and another who can kill four students at Kent State and come out free.”

John performed four new songs: “John Sinclair”, “Attica State”, “Sisters O Sisters”, and “Luck Of The Irish”.
Three days later, Sinclair was released from prison.
Not long after this event, John stayed away from anymore political activism, due to the FBI now having him under surveillance.

As Lennon said when he stood onstage at Crisler Arena in 1971, “We came here…..to say to all of you that apathy isn’t it, and that we can do something. OK, so flower power didn’t work. So what? We start again.”

JüRGEN VOLLMER REMEMBERS HIS JOHN LENNON ‘ROCK’N’ROLL’ PHOTO

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He’s taken many photos in his 50-year career, but there’s one from his earliest days that’s among Jürgen Vollmer’s most famous images.

It’s the black-and-white photo Vollmer took of a leaning, leather-jacketed John Lennon in a doorway in Hamburg, Germany.

When Vollmer met The Beatles at the Kaiserkeller club in October 1960, he had just started photography and lacked confidence in his skills. But when the band returned to Hamburg in March 1961, Vollmer was “secure enough” in his abilities to photograph them, he recalled in an interview in September.
Vollmer always liked what he calls “the backyards” of Hamburg, which to him looked mysterious. A doorway at Jagerpassage 1, Wohlwillstrasse 2 caught his eye, and his thought at the time was, “It would be great to have a rock ’n’ roller in there.”

In April 1961, a 20-year-old Lennon became that rocker. Vollmer, then 21, was in what he called his study phase, and he wanted to experiment by placing his camera on a tripod and setting a long exposure.
“Before I even started taking any pictures, I said to John, ‘You just lean there and look arrogant, like you always do,’” Vollmer recalled with a laugh. “And I wanted the other three out of focus.”
Those “other three” in the photo are Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe. Vollmer did want their shoes in focus, so he had them practice walking past Lennon first, then shot a roll of 12-exposure film.
Years later, when Vollmer was working in New York as a magazine art director, he received a phone call from May Pang, Lennon’s companion during his so-called “lost weekend” away from Yoko Ono. Pang was calling on behalf of Lennon, who was interested in seeing Vollmer’s photos from their April 1961 session. Lennon wanted to use one for the cover of “Rock ’n’ Roll,” an album featuring his versions of early rock hits. (The Beatles often covered songs from the same era during their Hamburg club days.)

Vollmer made enlargements of his photos and met Lennon at the studio where he was recording. Vollmer said he was paid $750 for his efforts. According to Vollmer, he designed “Rock ’n’ Roll” as a gatefold cover and remembers Lennon describing it as “beautiful.” But in the end, the packaging was redesigned under the direction of Roy Kohara, and the album was released in 1975 with a standard cover and Vollmer’s now-famous photo—cropped tight and not showing the in-focus shoes of the blurred McCartney, Harrison and Sutcliffe—on the front.

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