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Who Was Peter Tosh, Jamaican Reggae Musician?



On October 19, 1944, in Westmoreland, the westernmost parish of Jamaica, to James McIntosh and Alvera Coke, activist and reggae composer Winston Hubert McIntosh (named after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill) was born. Both of his parents abandoned him, and an aunt in Grange Hill raised him. Tosh, a 16-year-old who went to Kingston’s Trench Town neighborhood on his own, started selling sugarcane juice there in 1960. Tosh was already well ingrained in the neighborhood Christian church, where he sang in the chorus and had mastered the guitar and the organ. He also developed an early appreciation for R&B and doo-wop from listening to American radio stations that were broadcast to the Caribbean.

The Wailers band in Kingston was founded in 1963 by Tosh, Bob Marley, and Bunny Wailer. Tosh, the lone musician in the group, taught the Wailers how to play musical instruments and the fundamentals of music. This trio transformed the Caribbean-inspired music they were known for into a brand-new syncopated rock beat that was influenced by Rastafarianism and social consciousness. Their sound was referred to by many music commentators as the origin of reggae.

Tosh made his political début in Jamaica in 1976 with the release of his first self-produced studio album, Legalize It!, which advocated for the legalization of marijuana. In Jamaica, the record was prohibited from radio play. However, it spent two weeks at No. 199 on the US Billboard 200 list, where it reached its pinnacle. It was recognized as Tosh’s finest album and went on to sell more than a million copies. Igziabeher, Ketchy Shuby, Legalize It, No Sympathy, Till Your Well Runs Dry, and What’cha Gonna Do were among the songs on this album. In the same year, Tosh also started the reggae group Word, Sound, and Power. Now considered a Human Rights activist for black dignity and racial pride, Tosh in 1977, released his second solo album, Equal Rights.

The Billboard 200 charted Tosh’s album Bush Doctor for 20 weeks in 1978, peaking at no. 104. Mystic Man peaked at number 123 the following year and remained there for 10 weeks, while Wanted Dread and Alive peaked at number 91 and lasted there for 13 weeks in 1981. In 1983, Tosh released Mama Africa. It reached position 59 and held that position for 17 weeks. His 1984 single Captured Lives spent eight weeks on the charts and peaked at number 152. The album was up for “Best Reggae Recording” at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards in 1984. In 1984, Tosh also had a performance at the Rockers Magazine Music Awards Show at Kingston’s National Heroes Arena.

In 1984, Tosh also had a performance at the Rockers Magazine Music Awards Show at Kingston’s National Heroes Arena.

The father of ten children and a follower of Rastafarianism named Peter Tosh passed away on September 11, 1987, at the University of the West Indies Hospital in Kingston after being shot by three assailants who broke into his house. He was 42.

Peter Tosh, a bright and talented artist, performer, thinker, and native son, received the Jamaican Order of Merit in 2012 after his passing.

Peter Tosh was a musician and singer who has a net worth of $3 million.

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