Peter Tosh, born Winston Hubert McIntosh (19 October 1944 – 11 September 1987), was a Jamaican reggae musician who was a core member of the band The Wailers (1963–1974), and who afterward had a successful solo career as well as being a promoter of Rastafari.
Peter Tosh was born in Grange Hill, Jamaica, an illegitimate child to a mother too young to care for him properly. He was raised by his aunt. He began to sing and learn guitar at an early age, inspired by American radio stations. After a notable career with The Wailers and as a solo musician, he was murdered at his home during a robbery. Tosh began recording and released his solo debut, Legalize It, in 1976 with CBS Records company. The title track soon became popular among endorsers of marijuana legalization, reggae music lovers and Rastafarians all over the world, and was a favourite at Tosh's concerts. As Marley preached his "One Love" message, Tosh criticized the hypocritical "shitstem". He released the album Equal Rights in 1977. 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 Rolling Stones Records contracted with Tosh, and the album Bush Doctor was released, introducing Tosh to a larger audience. The single from the album, a cover version of The Temptations song Don't Look Back, performed as a duet with Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, made Tosh one of the best-known reggae artists.
On 11 September 1987, just after Tosh had returned to his home in Jamaica, a three-man gang came to his house 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 in an attempt to extort money from Tosh and tortured him. During this time, many of Tosh's friends came to his house to greet him because of his return to Jamaica. As people arrived, 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 put a gun to Tosh's head and shot once, killing him. The other gunmen began shooting, wounding several other people and also killing disc jockeys Doc Brown and Jeff "Free I" Dixon. Leppo surrendered to the authorities. He was sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted in 1995 and he remains in jail. The other two gunmen were never identified by name. It is said that they were killed in a gang war a few weeks later.
Peter Tosh (left) on the Bush Doctor tour in 1978, with Al Anderson (guitar) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass)
|Birth name||Winston Hubert McIntosh|
|Also known as||Stepping Razor|
|Born||19 October 1944|
|Died||11 September 1987 (aged 42)|
|Genres||Reggae, ska, rocksteady, R&B|
|Occupations||Singer, musician, revolutionary|
|Instruments||Piano, guitar, organ, vocals,keyboard|
|Associated acts||Bob Marley|
|Gibson Les Paul Doublecut Special|