Peter M. Tosh
|Birth name||Winston Hubert McIntosh|
|Also known as||Stepping Razor|
|Born||19 October 1944|
Grange Hill, Jamaica
|Died||11 September 1987 42) (aged|
|Genres||Reggae, ska, rocksteady, R&B|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, keyboards, melodica, percussion, drums, violin|
|Labels||Intel-Diplo, JAD Records|
|Associated acts||The Wailers, Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Mick Jagger, Al Anderson|
Peter Tosh, OM (born Winston Hubert McIntosh; 19 October 1944 – 11 September 1987) was a Jamaican reggae musician. Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, he was one of the core members of the band the Wailers (1963–1976), after which he established himself as a successful solo artist and a promoter of Rastafari. He was murdered in 1987 during a home invasion.
Tosh was born in Westmoreland, the westernmost parish of Jamaica. He was abandoned by his parents and "shuffled among relatives." [ citation needed ]When McIntosh was fifteen, his aunt died and he moved to Trenchtown in Kingston, Jamaica. He first learned guitar after watching a man in the country play a song that captivated him. He watched the man play the same song for half a day, memorizing everything his fingers were doing. He then picked up the guitar and played the song back to the man. The man then asked McIntosh who had taught him to play; McIntosh told him that he had. During the early 1960s, as an aspiring musician, Tosh went to vocal teacher Joe Higgs, who gave free music lessons to young people. Through his contact with Higgs, Tosh met Robert Nesta Marley (Bob Marley) and Neville O'Reilly Livingston (Bunny Wailer). He then changed his name to Peter Tosh and the trio started singing together in 1962. Higgs taught the trio to harmonize and while developing their music, they would often play on the street corners of Trenchtown.
In 1964 Tosh helped organize the band the Wailing Wailers, with Junior Braithwaite, a falsetto singer, and backup singers Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith. Initially, Tosh was the only one in the group who could play musical instruments. According to Bunny Wailer, Tosh was critical to the band because he was a self-taught guitarist and keyboardist, and thus became an inspiration for the other band members to learn to play. The Wailing Wailers had a major ska hit with their first single, "Simmer Down", and recorded several more successful singles before Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith left the band in late 1965. Marley spent much of 1966 in Delaware in the United States with his mother, Cedella (Malcolm) Marley-Booker, and for a brief time was working at a nearby Chrysler factory. He then returned to Jamaica in early 1967 with a renewed interest in music and a new spirituality. Tosh and Bunny were already Rastafarians when Marley returned from the US, and the three became very involved with the Rastafari faith. Soon afterwards, they renamed the musical group the Wailers. Tosh would explain later that they chose the name Wailers because to "wail" means to mourn or to, as he put it, "...express one's feelings vocally". He also claims that he was the beginning of the group, and that it was he who first taught Bob Marley the guitar. The latter claim may very well be true, for according to Bunny Wailer, the early Wailers learned to play instruments from Tosh.
During the mid 1960s Tosh, along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, were introduced to Danny Sims and Johnny Nash who signed the three artists to an exclusive recording contract on Sims' and Nash's JAD Records labelas well as an exclusive publishing agreement through Sims' music publishing company, Cayman Music. Rejecting the up-tempo dance of ska, the band slowed their music to a rocksteady pace, and infused their lyrics with political and social messages inspired by their new-found faith. The Wailers composed several songs for the American-born singer Johnny Nash before teaming with producer Lee Perry to record some of the earliest well-known reggae songs, including "Soul Rebel", "Duppy Conqueror", and "Small Axe". The collaboration had given birth to reggae music and in 1970 bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton Barrett, joined the group. They recorded The Best of the Wailers album, which was produced by Leslie Kong and released in 1971.
In 1972, Danny Sims assigned the balance of the JAD Records recording contract with the band to Chris Blackwell and Island Records companyand released their debut, Catch a Fire , in 1973, following it with Burnin' and Natty Dread the same year. The Wailers had moved from many producers after 1970 and there were instances where producers would record rehearsal sessions that Tosh did and release them in England under the name "Peter Touch".
In 1973, Tosh was driving home with his girlfriend Evonne when his car was hit by another car driving on the wrong side of the road. The accident killed Evonne and severely fractured Tosh's skull. After Island Records president Chris Blackwell refused to issue his solo album in 1974, Tosh and Bunny Wailer left the Wailers, citing the unfair treatment they received from Blackwell, to whom Tosh often referred with a derogatory play on Blackwell's surname, 'Whiteworst'. [ citation needed ] That was his last album from the Wailers, Island Records. In 2013, a book co-written by French scholar Dr Jeremie Kroubo Dagnini and American Lee Jaffe, his former associate, says Tosh was part of a smuggling operation that raised money to fund this groundbreaking album.Tosh had written many of the Wailers' hit songs such as "Get Up, Stand Up", "400 Years", and "No Sympathy". Tosh began recording and released his solo debut, Legalize It , in 1976 with CBS Records company, and Island Records. The title track soon became popular among endorsers of cannabis legalization, reggae music lovers and Rastafari all over the world, and was a favourite at Tosh's concerts.
Tosh started to make his own albums with Rolling Stones Records and CBS Records Equal Rights followed in 1977, featuring his recording of a song co-written with Marley, "Get Up, Stand Up," and a cover of "Stepping Razor" that would also appear on the soundtrack to the film Rockers .
Tosh organized a backing band, Word, Sound and Power, who were to accompany him on tour for the next few years, and many of whom performed on his albums of this period. In 1978 the Rolling Stones record label Rolling Stones Records contracted with Tosh, on which the album Bush Doctor was released, introducing Tosh to a larger audience. The album featured Rolling Stones frontmen Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and the lead single – a cover version of The Temptations song "Don't Look Back" – was performed as a duet with Jagger. It made Tosh one of the best-known reggae artists.[ according to whom? ][ citation needed ]
During Bob Marley's free One Love Peace Concert of 1978, Tosh lit a marijuana spliff and lectured about legalizing cannabis, lambasting attending dignitaries Michael Manley and Edward Seaga for their failure to enact such legislation. Several months later he was apprehended by police as he left Skateland dance hall in Kingston and was beaten severely while in police custody[ citation needed ].
Mystic Man (1979), and Wanted Dread and Alive (1981) followed, both released on Rolling Stones Records. Tosh tried to gain some mainstream success while keeping his militant views, but was only moderately successful, especially when compared to Marley's achievements.
In 1984, after the release of 1983's album Mama Africa , Tosh went into self-imposed exile, seeking the spiritual advice of traditional medicine men in Africa, and trying to free himself from recording agreements that distributed his records in South Africa.[ citation needed ] Tosh had been at odds for several years with his label, EMI, over a perceived lack of promotion for his music.
Tosh also participated in the international opposition to South African apartheid by appearing at Anti-Apartheid concerts and by conveying his opinion in various songs like "Apartheid" (1977, re-recorded 1987), "Equal Rights" (1977), "Fight On" (1979), and "Not Gonna Give It Up" (1983). In 1987, Peter Tosh seemed to be having a career revival. He was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Performance in 1987 for No Nuclear War , his last record.
On 11 September 1987, just after Tosh had returned to his home in Jamaica, a three-man gang came to his house on motorcycles demanding money.Tosh replied that he did not have any with him but the gang did not believe him. They stayed at his residence for several hours and tortured Tosh in an attempt to extort money from him. Over the hours, as various associates of Tosh arrived to visit him, they were also taken hostage by the gunmen. The gunmen became more and more frustrated, especially the chief thug, Dennis "Leppo" Lobban, a man whom Tosh had previously befriended and tried to help find work after a long jail sentence. Tosh said he did not have any money in the house, after which Lobban and the fellow gunmen began opening fire in a reckless manner. Tosh was shot twice in the head and killed. Herbalist Wilton "Doc" Brown and disc jockey Jeff 'Free I' Dixon also died as a result of wounds sustained during the robbery. Several others in the house were wounded, including Tosh's common law wife Andrea Marlene Brown, Free I's wife Yvonne ("Joy"); Tosh's drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis, and musician Michael Robinson.
According to Police Commissioner Herman Ricketts, Dennis "Leppo" Lobban surrendered and two other men were interrogated but not publicly named.Lobban went on to plead innocent during his trial, telling the court he had been drinking with friends. The trial was held in a closed court due to the involvement of illegal firearms. Lobban was ultimately found guilty by a jury of eight women and four men and sentenced to death by hanging. His sentence was commuted in 1995 and Lobban remains in jail. Another suspect was acquitted due to insufficient evidence. The other two gunmen were never identified by name.
In 1993 Stepping Razor - Red X was released, a documentary film chronicling Peter Tosh's life, music and untimely death.It was directed by Canadian filmmaker Nicholas Campbell, produced by Wayne Jobson and based upon a series of spoken-word recordings made by Tosh himself. The film was released on DVD in 2002.
A monument to Peter Tosh is maintained by his family near Negril, Jamaica and is open to the public. His birthday is celebrated there annually with live reggae music.
In October 2012 Tosh was posthumously awarded Jamaica's fourthhighest honour, the Order of Merit.
A square on Trafalgar Road in Kingston was renamed Peter Tosh Square. The square is home to the Peter Tosh Museum, which opened in October 2016.Among the artifacts on display will be Tosh's M16 guitar.
In 2015, Tosh's daughter – the administrator of the Peter Tosh Estate – deemed that April 20 should be celebrated as International Peter Tosh Day, in honour of his "philosophy of responsible cannabis consumption for medicinal and spiritual health benefits".
The annual Peter Tosh Gala Awards event was inaugurated in 2017.
In 1983, at the Los Angeles stop on Tosh's Mama Africa tour, a local musician named Bruno Coon went to the hotel at which Tosh was staying, claiming to have a gift for him. The gift was a custom-built guitar in the shape of an M16 rifle. Tosh accepted the gift personally.The guitar was subsequently lost by the airlines when the tour went to Europe but was recovered when Tosh's public relations agent placed an article about its loss in Der Spiegel . Tosh went on to perform on stage with the guitar.
The promoters of the Flashpoint Film Festival announced in 2006 that Tosh's common-law wife Andrea "Marlene" Brown would auction it on eBay.Tosh's sons, Andrew Tosh, and Jawara McIntosh, prevented the sale, claiming ownership of the guitar. In 2011 Andrew Tosh said that the guitar was in the custody of a close friend, awaiting the opening of a museum dedicated to Peter Tosh.
The Peter Tosh Museum was opened on Peter Tosh's 72nd birthday on 19 October 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer during the late 1960s, Peter Tosh became a devotee of Rastafari.One of the beliefs of the Rastas is that Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, was either an embodiment of God or a messenger of God, leading the three friends to be baptized by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
At some point after his departure from the Wailers, Tosh developed an interest in unicycles and became a unicycle rider, being able to ride forwards and backwards and hop. He often amused his audiences by riding onto the stage on his unicycle for his shows.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|1978|| Bush Doctor ||104||–||34|
|1979|| Mystic Man ||104||–||72|
|1981||Wanted Dread & Alive||91||40||–|
|1983|| Mama Africa ||59||49||47|
|1987|| No Nuclear War ||–||–||–|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
Listed are compilations containing material previously unreleased outside of Jamaica.
Natty Dread is the seventh album by Bob Marley and the Wailers, released in 1974. Previously Marley had recorded with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer as the Wailers, and this was his first record without them.
Burnin' is the sixth studio album by Jamaican reggae band The Wailers, released in October 1973. It was written mostly by bandleader Bob Marley and produced by Chris Blackwell. A commercial and critical success in the United States, Burnin' was certified Gold and later added to the National Recording Registry, with the Library of Congress deeming it historically and culturally significant.
Rastaman Vibration is the eighth studio album by the reggae band Bob Marley and the Wailers, released in April 1976.
Bob Marley and the Wailers were a Jamaican reggae band led by Bob Marley. It developed from the earlier ska vocal group, The Wailers, created by Peter Tosh, Marley, and Bunny Wailer in 1963. By late 1963 singers Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith had joined on. By the early 1970s, Marley and Bunny Wailer had learned to play some instruments, and brothers Aston "Family Man" Barrett (bass) and Carlton Barrett (drums), had joined the band. After Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh left the band in 1974, Marley began touring with new band members as Bob Marley and the Wailers. His new backing band included the Barrett brothers, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl "Wya" Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin "Seeco" Patterson on percussion. The "I Threes", consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley's wife, Rita, provided backing vocals.
Joseph Benjamin Higgs was a reggae musician from Jamaica. In the late 1950s and 1960s he was part of the duo Higgs and Wilson together with Roy Wilson. He was a popular artist in Jamaica for four decades and is also known for his work tutoring younger musicians including Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jimmy Cliff.
Alpharita Constantia Marley is a Cuban-born Jamaican singer and the widow of Bob Marley. She was a member of the vocal group the I Threes, along with Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt, who gained recognition as the backing vocalists for Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Judith Veronica Mowatt, is a Jamaican reggae artist. As well as being a solo artist, from 1974 she was also a member of the I Three, trio of backing vocalists for Bob Marley & The Wailers after Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left.
The Wailing Wailers is the debut album by The Wailers published on the Studio One label. Originally released in very late 1965 and compiled from various recordings made over the years 1964-1965 by Neville “Bunny” Livingston, Robert “Bob” Nesta Marley and Peter “Tosh” McIntosh, it compiles what Clement Coxsone Dodd considered the best Wailers recordings from this period. They were accompanied by the Studio One backing band, The Soul Brothers.
Throw Down Your Arms is Sinéad O'Connor's seventh studio album, and her first reggae album. O'Connor sings cover versions of classic roots reggae songs, with production by Sly and Robbie.
Michael George Henry OD, better known as Ras Michael, is a Jamaican reggae singer and Nyabinghi specialist. He also performs under the name of Dadawah.
Uziah "Sticky" Thompson was a Jamaican percussionist, vocalist and deejay active from the late 1950s. He worked with some of the best known performers of Jamaican music and played on hundreds of albums.
Earl "Chinna" Smith, a.k.a. Earl Flute and Melchezidek the High Priest, is a Jamaican guitarist active since the late 1960s. He is most well known for his work with the Soul Syndicate band and has recorded with many reggae artists, appearing on more than 500 albums.
Blackheart Man is the debut album by Bunny Wailer, originally released on 8 September 1976, in Jamaica on Solomonic Records and internationally on Island Records.
Robert Nesta Marley was a Jamaican singer, songwriter, and musician. Considered one of the pioneers of reggae, his musical career was marked by fusing elements of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, as well as his distinctive vocal and songwriting style. Marley's contributions to music increased the visibility of Jamaican music worldwide, and made him a global figure in popular culture for over a decade. Over the course of his career, Marley became known as a Rastafari icon, and he infused his music with a sense of spirituality. He is also considered a global symbol of Jamaican music and culture and identity, and was controversial in his outspoken support for the legalization of marijuana, while he also advocated for Pan-Africanism.
John Masouri is a journalist, reviewer, contributor and author for reggae music and several of its musical offshoots including dub, roots and dancehall.
Andrew Tosh is a Jamaican reggae singer and the son of Peter Tosh. He is the nephew of reggae singer Bunny Wailer, also an original member of The Wailers. Andrew has a strong vocal resemblance to his late father and like his father, rides the unicycle.
Negril is an album released in 1975 from a session produced, arranged, and almost entirely composed by guitarist Eric Gale. It includes some of Jamaica's best-known musicians of the time. The album expresses Gale's fondness for the beach and natural beauty of the Jamaican seaside village Negril, which became a popular destination for tourists.
Midnight Raver was a website dedicated solely to the promotion and preservation of roots reggae, culture and dub. Contributors include authors and journalists, historians, record producers, broadcasters, lecturers, archivists, collectors and publishers.
Larry McDonald is a Jamaican percussionist. He was born in Port Maria, Jamaica in 1937. McDonald played congas with Carlos Malcolm's band, Toots and the Maytals and the Count Ossie Band. He plays a wide variety of traditional percussion instruments.
Neville O'Riley Livingston, known professionally as Bunny Wailer, was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and percussionist. He was an original member of reggae group The Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. A three-time Grammy Award winner, he is considered one of the longtime standard-bearers of reggae music. He was also known as Jah B, Bunny O'Riley, and Bunny Livingston.
The guitar was gained by one of the festival's founders, Paul Bucknor, from the late legend's common-law wife, Andrea (Marlene) Brown. Ms. Brown told Bucknor that she, in fact, owned the M16 guitar, which had been locked away in a closet in the United States for the last 19 years.
Jawara McIntosh, 26, the youngest son of the deceased artiste, told The Gleaner yesterday that the guitar belongs to the Tosh estate and it is his intention to recover items (including the guitar) that were previously thought lost.