For almost thirty years-from the time I first met him at the age of six to our last meeting in 1976 at his home in New York--I probably spent more time with him than anyone else."" So claims, somewhat dubiously, John Lennon self-described ""best mate"" Pete Shotton, a childhood chum and longtime hanger-on who here adds his unsurprising, unlovely version to the proliferating others. (See May Pang, above.) John was a witty, cocky kid, we're told; but he also liked going to church and adored his Raleigh Lenton bicycle. The lads shared pranks, love of rock music, and masturbation. (""Though he was wont to come very quickly, John's ability to regain his erection almost at once was to preclude any serious problems in later life."") And when John formed his first band, Pete played the washboard for a while--since John ""always suffered from an irrational fear of stepping out on his own."" Pete eventually dropped out, but they continued to double-date (""to screw away the afternoon in one big happy heap""); he declined a sexual proposition from new Beatles manager Brian Epstein, ""among the nicest people I'd ever met."" (As reported elsewhere, John was more accommodating.) Later, when fame and fortune came to the ever-unstable John, he bought Pete a supermarket, later insisting that he come to work for him--at the Beatles' chaotic conglomerate, then as his personal assistant: ""Whenever I hinted that it might be healthier for both of us if I found myself a new job in the real world, John would panic, and beg me to stay on. Without me, he would insist, he had nobody."" And along the way Pete says that he sat in on songwriting sessions, suggesting the end of ""Eleanor Rigby."" (Furthermore, ""it was my distinct impression that his song 'Help,' with lines like 'I do appreciate you bein' round,' was directed at me."") Shotton offers comments on each phase of the Lennon magical-mystery-tour, on wives Cynthia and Yoko (possessive, jealous), on the other Beatles. But only the most dedicated Lennon-istes will want to wade through this unpersuasive, drab mixture of familiar Lennon-foibles (drugs, groupies, etc.) and aggressive Shotton self-promotion.