Peter Tosh
Peter Tosh

Peter Tosh, OM (born Winston Hubert McIntosh; 19 October [1] 1944 – 11 September 1987) was a Jamaican reggae musician. Together with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, he was one of many core members of the band the Wailers (1963–1976), after which he established himself as a profitable solo artist and a promoter of Rastafari. He was murdered in 1987 throughout a house invasion.

Early music and with the Wailers

Tosh was born in Westmoreland, the westernmost parish of Jamaica. He was deserted by his mother and father and “shuffled amongst family.”[2] When McIntosh was fifteen, his aunt died and he moved to Trenchtown in Kingston, Jamaica. He first realized guitar after watching a person within the nation play a track that captivated him. He watched the person play the identical track for half a day, memorizing every little thing his fingers have been doing. He then picked up the guitar and performed the track again to the person. The person then requested McIntosh who had taught him to play; McIntosh instructed him that he had.[3] Throughout the early Nineteen Sixties, as an aspiring musician, Tosh went to vocal instructor Joe Higgs, who gave free music classes to younger folks. Via his contact with Higgs, Tosh met Robert Nesta Marley (Bob Marley) and Neville O’Reilly Livingston (Bunny Wailer).[4] He then modified his title to Peter Tosh and the trio began singing collectively in 1962. Higgs taught the trio to harmonize and whereas creating their music, they’d usually play on the road corners of Trenchtown.[citation needed]

In 1964 Tosh helped manage the band the Wailing Wailers, with Junior Braithwaite, a falsetto singer, and backup singers Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith. Initially, Tosh was the one one within the group who might play musical devices. In keeping with Bunny Wailer, Tosh was important of the band as a result of he was a self-taught guitarist and keyboardist, and thus turned an inspiration for the opposite band members to study to play. The Wailing Wailers had a serious ska hit with their first single, “Simmer Down”, and recorded a number of extra profitable singles earlier than Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith left the band in late 1965. Marley spent a lot of 1966 in Delaware in the USA along with his mom, Cedella (Malcolm) Marley-Booker, and for a short time was working at a close-by Chrysler manufacturing facility. He returned to Jamaica in early 1967 with a renewed curiosity in music and a brand new spirituality. Tosh and Bunny have been already Rastafarians when Marley returned from the US, and the three turned very concerned with the Rastafari religion. Quickly afterwards, they renamed the musical group the Wailers. Tosh would clarify later that they selected the title Wailers as a result of to “wail” means to mourn or to, as he put it, “…specific one’s emotions vocally”. He additionally claims that he was the start of the group, and that it was he who first taught Bob Marley the guitar. Additionally in line with Bunny Wailer, the early Wailers realized to play devices from Tosh.[5]

Throughout the mid Nineteen Sixties Tosh, together with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, have been launched to Danny Sims and Johnny Nash who signed the three artists to an unique recording contract on Sims’ and Nash’s JAD Data label[6] in addition to an unique publishing settlement by way of Sims’ music publishing firm, Cayman Music. Rejecting the up-tempo dance of ska, the band slowed their music to a rocksteady tempo, and infused their lyrics with political and social messages impressed by their new-found religion. The Wailers composed a number of songs for the American-born singer Nash earlier than teaming with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry to file among the earliest well-known reggae songs, together with “Soul Insurgent”, “Duppy Conqueror”, and “Small Axe”. The collaboration had given start to reggae music and in 1970 bassist Aston “Household Man” Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton Barrett, joined the group. They recorded the album The Better of The Wailers, which was produced by Leslie Kong and launched in 1971.

In 1972, Danny Sims assigned the steadiness of the JAD Data recording contract with the band to Chris Blackwell and Island Data firm [6] and launched their debut, Catch a Hearth, in 1973, following it with Burnin’ and Natty Dread the identical yr. The Wailers had moved from many producers after 1970 and there have been cases the place producers would file rehearsal periods that Tosh did and launch them in England beneath the title “Peter Contact”.

In 1973, Tosh was driving dwelling along with his girlfriend Evonne when his automotive was hit by one other automotive driving on the improper aspect of the highway. The accident killed Evonne and severely fractured Tosh’s cranium. After Island Data president Chris Blackwell refused to problem his solo album in 1974, Tosh and Bunny Wailer left the Wailers, citing the unfair remedy they acquired from Blackwell, to whom Tosh usually referred with a derogatory play on Blackwell’s surname, ‘Whiteworst’.[7] Tosh had written lots of the Wailers’ hit songs corresponding to “Get Up, Stand Up”, “400 Years”, and “No Sympathy”. Tosh started recording and launched his solo debut, Legalize It, in 1976 with CBS Data firm, and Island Data. The title observe quickly turned well-liked amongst endorsers of hashish legalization, reggae music lovers and Rastafari all around the world, and was a favorite at Tosh’s live shows.[citation needed] That was his final album from the Wailers, Island Data. In 2013, a e-book co-written by French scholar Dr Jeremie Kroubo Dagnini and American Lee Jaffe, his former affiliate, says Tosh was a part of a smuggling operation that raised cash to fund this album.[8]

Solo profession

Tosh began to make his personal albums with Rolling Stones Data and CBS Data Equal Rights adopted in 1977, that includes his recording of a track co-written with Marley, “Get Up, Stand Up”, and a canopy of “Stepping Razor” that will additionally seem on the soundtrack to the movie Rockers.

Tosh organized a backing band, Phrase, Sound and Energy, who have been to accompany him on tour for the subsequent few years, and plenty of of whom carried out on his albums of this era. In 1978 The Rolling Stones file label Rolling Stones Data contracted with Tosh, on which the album Bush Physician was launched, introducing Tosh to a bigger viewers. The album featured Rolling Stones frontmen Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and the lead single – a canopy model of The Temptations track “Do not Look Again” – was carried out as a duet with Jagger.[citation needed]

Peter Tosh with Robbie Shakespeare, 1978

Throughout Bob Marley’s free One Love Peace Live performance of 1978, Tosh lit a marijuana spliff and lectured about legalizing hashish, lambasting attending dignitaries Michael Manley and Edward Seaga for his or her failure to enact such laws. A number of months later he was apprehended by police as he left Skateland dance corridor in Kingston and was overwhelmed severely whereas in police custody[citation needed].

Mystic Man (1979), and Wished Dread and Alive (1981) adopted, each launched on Rolling Stones Data. Tosh tried to realize some mainstream success whereas preserving his militant views, however was solely reasonably profitable, particularly when in comparison with Marley’s achievements.

In 1984, after the discharge of 1983’s album Mama Africa, Tosh went into self-imposed exile, in search of the non secular recommendation of conventional drugs males in Africa, and making an attempt to free himself from recording agreements that distributed his information in South Africa.[citation needed] Tosh had been at odds for a number of years along with his label, EMI, over a perceived lack of promotion for his music.[9]

Tosh additionally participated within the worldwide opposition to South African apartheid by showing at anti-apartheid live shows and by conveying his opinion in varied songs like “Apartheid” (1977, re-recorded 1987), “Equal Rights” (1977), “Struggle On” (1979), and “Not Gonna Give It Up” (1983). In 1987, Peter Tosh gave the impression to be having a profession revival. He was awarded a Grammy Award for Finest Reggae Efficiency in 1987 for No Nuclear Struggle, his final file.[10]


On 11 September 1987, simply after Tosh had returned to his dwelling in Jamaica, a three-man gang got here to his home on bikes demanding cash.[11][12] Tosh replied that he didn’t have any with him however the gang didn’t imagine him. They stayed at his residence for a number of hours and tortured Tosh in an try to extort cash from him. Over the hours, as varied associates of Tosh arrived to go to him, they have been additionally taken hostage by the gunmen. The gunmen turned increasingly more annoyed, particularly the chief thug, Dennis “Leppo” Lobban, a person whom Tosh had beforehand befriended and tried to assist discover work after an extended jail sentence.[11] Tosh mentioned he didn’t have any cash in the home, after which Lobban and the guy gunmen started opening hearth in a reckless method. Tosh was shot twice within the head and killed. Herbalist Wilton “Doc” Brown and disc jockey Jeff ‘Free I’ Dixon additionally died because of wounds sustained through the theft. A number of others in the home have been wounded, together with Tosh’s widespread legislation spouse Andrea Marlene Brown, Free I’s spouse Yvonne (“Pleasure”); Tosh’s drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis, and musician Michael Robinson.[13][14]

In keeping with Police Commissioner Herman Ricketts, Dennis “Leppo” Lobban surrendered and two different males have been interrogated however not publicly named.[15] Lobban went on to plead harmless throughout his trial, telling the courtroom he had been ingesting with buddies. The trial was held in a closed courtroom because of the involvement of unlawful firearms. Lobban was in the end discovered responsible by a jury of eight ladies and 4 males and sentenced to demise by hanging.[16] His sentence was commuted in 1995 and Lobban stays in jail.[17] One other suspect was acquitted attributable to inadequate proof.[18] The opposite two gunmen have been by no means recognized by title.


In 1993 Stepping Razor: Crimson X was launched, a documentary movie chronicling Peter Tosh’s life, music and premature demise.[19] It was directed by Canadian filmmaker Nicholas Campbell, produced by Wayne Jobson and primarily based upon a collection of spoken-word recordings made by Tosh himself.[20][21] The movie was launched on DVD in 2002.[22]

A monument to Peter Tosh is maintained by his household close to Negril, Jamaica and is open to the general public. His birthday is well known there yearly with stay reggae music.[23]

In October 2012 Tosh was posthumously awarded Jamaica’s fourth[24] highest honour, the Order of Advantage.[25]

A sq. on Trafalgar Street in Kingston was renamed Peter Tosh Sq.. The sq. is dwelling to the Peter Tosh Museum, which opened in October 2016.[26][27] Among the many artifacts on show shall be Tosh’s M16 guitar.

In 2015, Tosh’s daughter – the administrator of the Peter Tosh Property – deemed that April 20 ought to be celebrated as Worldwide Peter Tosh Day, in honour of his “philosophy of accountable hashish consumption for medicinal and non secular well being advantages”.[28][29]

The annual Peter Tosh Gala Awards occasion was inaugurated in 2017.[30]

In October 2019, a commemorative blue plaque devoted by the Nubian Jak Neighborhood Belief honoring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer was positioned on the former web site of Basing Road Studios in London, the place Catch a Hearth and Burnin’ have been accomplished.[31]

M16 guitar

In 1983, on the Los Angeles cease on Tosh’s Mama Africa tour, a neighborhood musician named Bruno Coon went to the lodge at which Tosh was staying, claiming to have a present for him. The reward was a custom-built guitar within the form of an M16 rifle. Tosh accepted the reward personally.[32] The guitar was subsequently misplaced by the airways when the tour went to Europe however was recovered when Tosh’s public relations agent positioned an article about its loss in Der Spiegel. Tosh went on to carry out on stage with the guitar.[33]

The promoters of the Flashpoint Movie Pageant introduced in 2006 that Tosh’s common-law spouse Andrea “Marlene” Brown would public sale it on eBay.[34] Tosh’s sons, Andrew Tosh, and Jawara McIntosh, prevented the sale, claiming possession of the guitar.[35] In 2011 Andrew Tosh mentioned that the guitar was within the custody of an in depth pal, awaiting the opening of a museum devoted to Peter Tosh.[36]

The Peter Tosh Museum was opened on Peter Tosh’s 72nd birthday on 19 October 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica.[37]

Private life


Together with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer through the late Nineteen Sixties, Peter Tosh turned a devotee of Rastafari.[38] One of many beliefs of the Rastas is that Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, was both an embodiment of God or a messenger of God, main the three buddies to be baptized by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.[39]


Sooner or later after his departure from the Wailers, Tosh developed an curiosity in unicycles and have become a unicycle rider, having the ability to experience forwards and backwards and hop. He usually amused his audiences by using onto the stage on his unicycle for his exhibits.[40][41]


Studio albums

Record of albums, with chosen chart positions
Yr Album particulars Peak chart positions
1976 Legalize It

  • Launched:
  • Label: Columbia Data
  • Island Data
  • Format:
199  –  –
1977 Equal Rights

  • Launched:
  • Label: * Rolling Stones Data
  • EMI Music Distribution
  • Format:
146  –  –
1978 Bush Physician

  • Billboard Debut: December 9, 1978
  • Label: Rolling Stones Data
  • EMI
  • Format:
104  – 34
1979 Mystic Man

  • Launched:
  • Label: Rolling Stones Data
  • EMI
  • Format:
104  – 72
1981 Wished Dread & Alive

  • Launched:
  • Format:
  • Label: EMI
  • Rolling Stones Data
  • EMI America
  • Capitol
91 40  –
1983 Mama Africa

  • Launched:
  • Label: Rolling Stones Data
  • EMI
  • EMI America
  • Intel-Diplo
  • Format:
59 49 47
1987 No Nuclear Struggle

  • Launched:
  • Label: EMI
  • Format:
 –  –  –
“—” denotes a recording that didn’t chart or was not launched in that territory.

Dwell albums

  • Captured Dwell (1984)
  • Dwell on the One Love Peace Live performance (JAD) (2000) [43]
  • Dwell & Harmful: Boston 1976 (2001)
  • Dwell on the Jamaica World Music Pageant 1982 (JAD) (2002) [43]
  • Full Captured Dwell (2002)
  • Dwell at My Father’s Place 1978 (2014)


Listed are compilations containing materials beforehand unreleased exterior of Jamaica.

  • The Hardest (Capitol) (1988)
  • Honorary Citizen (1997)
  • Scrolls of the Prophet: The Better of Peter Tosh (1999)
  • Come up Black Man (1999)
  • Black Dignity (Early Works of the Stepping Razor) (2001)
  • I Am That I Am (JAD) (2001) [44]
  • The Better of Peter Tosh 1977–1987 (2003)
  • Cannot Blame the Youth (JAD) (2004) [44]
  • Black Dignity (2004)
  • Speaking Revolution (2005)
  • The Final Peter Tosh Expertise (2009)

Seems on

  • The Wailing Wailers (1965)
  • Negril (Eric Gale, 1975)
  • Rastafari Dub[45] (Ras Michael & The Sons of Negus, 1975)
  • Blackheart Man (Bunny Wailer, 1976)
  • Phrase Sound and Energy (Chris Hinze, 1980)

See additionally

  • Record of Rastafarians
  • Record of reggae musicians

  • Peter Tosh on AllMusic
  • Discography
  • Peter Tosh – Function
  • The Wailers Information
  • Peter Tosh [Discography, Biography & Lyrics] @

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