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Music / Peter Tosh

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After Bob Marley Peter Tosh (born Winston Hubert McIntosh, October 19, 1945 - September 11, 1987) was perhaps the second most famous reggae musician in the world.

He was part of the original Jamaican ska band The Wailing Wailers, later The Wailers, along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer. They started their career in 1962 and made the evolution from harmonizing ska band with soul influences to rebellious reggae group, inspired by rastafarianism. Tosh sang along on albums like Catch a Fire (1972) and Burnin' (1973), where he wrote some of their best songs, such as Stop That Train, Get Up, Stand Up, 400 Years and No Sympathy.


In 1974 Tosh left the band and went solo. He released his debut album Legalize It (1976), of which the title track became his biggest hit. Because of its Everybody Must Get Stoned message the song was banned in Jamaica, but it made him famous all over the world. His next album, Equal Rights (1977) became an even bigger success because of this. Bush Doctor (1978), featured a cover of Don't Look Back, sang with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. "You Gotta Walk And (Don't Look Back)" is a very upbeat synth-heavy reggae cover of the Temptations song, which sounds nothing like his other work where he usually sounds more cynical. He also appears in the music video of "Waiting On A Friend" from the Stones' album Tattoo You (1981).

During the 1980s Tosh became an outspoken anti-apartheid activist, but sadly he was tortured and murdered by a gang in 1987.


His album Legalize It (1976) has it own page.

Roughest toughest tropes:

  • Badass Boast: I'm The Toughest and Stepping Razor (see The Napoleon)
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Tosh was a skilled unicyclist, being able to ride forwards and backwards and hop. He even rode a unicycle during concerts.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Indeed.
  • Cool Shades: He enjoyed wearing shades during performances.
  • Cover Version: Don't Look Back, Johnny B. Goode.
  • Don't Look Back: "Walk & Don't Look Back" by The Rolling Stones and Peter Tosh from Tosh's album "Bush Doctor" (1978).
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Tosh was a vocal advocate of marijuana legalization and promoted it in many songs, including Legalize It.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Tosh befriended Dennis "Leppo" Lobban, an ex-convict, and tried to help him find a job. Lobban repaid Tosh by leading a three-man gang to his house and robbing and murdering him.
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  • The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: Downpressor Man, where Tosh criticizes oppression of people below the social ladder.
  • The Napoleon: Stepping Razor
    If you wanna live, live
    I beg you treat me good
    I'm like a walking razor
    Don't you watch my size
    I'm dangerous
  • A Nuclear Error: No Nuclear War, an anti nuclear war song.
  • Protest Song: Legalize It, 'Downpressor Man, Apartheid, Fight Apartheid'': Tosh was known to advocate freedom in every way and fought for legalization of marijuana, the abolition of apartheid and the oppression of black people worldwide.
  • Pun-Based Title Wanted Dread And Alive.
  • Rated M for Manly: Self-proclaimed "The Toughest" and "Steppin' Razor", he's considered the hard man of reggae. He made it his lifetime goal to challenge authority figures and to encourage others to do the same. His marijuana consumption was legendary and he survived many police beatings. Also, he didn't really do love songs - he has a small handful across his whole career. He would also swear frequently, creating his own words like "shitstem".
  • Real Soon Now: Soon Come, recorded both with The Wailers and solo. This is about a woman who is wasting his time by constantly promising to do something by a certain time but making excuses when it hasn't been done by then. The phrase 'Soon Come' is commonly used in Jamaica and is typical of their laidback 'no rush' attitude.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Wrote many protest songs for the legalization of marijuana and posed with a joint often.
  • The Stoner: He would often light a spliff even when police officers were in full view, which would often lead to Police Brutality. He has many solo songs which deal with it, such as "Legalize It" and "Bush Doctor" and "Nah Goa Jail", to name a few. There is even a version of Marley'sKaya that has Peter Tosh talking at the beginning of the song, he is knocking on Bob's door and is very high indeed (which is helped by gratuitous echo).
  • Train Song: Stop That Train, a song about a man who wants a train to be held because his loved one is on it and he wants to talk to her before it leaves.


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