Peter Tosh was a revolutionist and reggae artist. He was a founding member of the Wailers, a reggae group consisting of Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer.
Peter Tosh was born in a rural area of Jamaica on October 19, 1944. His parents were too young to raise him and soon abandoned the young Tosh to be shuffled among relatives.
Tosh was raised primarily by his aunt but quickly learned to take care of himself. He was highly resourceful and successfully self-dependent. As a young boy, he exhibited the talent of singing and not long after he picked up a striking interest in guitar playing from a singular life experience. Tosh had watched a man perform with a guitar and became captivated with the art of it. He memorised the man’s actions and was able to repeat them with the guitar. When asked where he learned to play, he told the man he had only just learnt from him.
While living in Kingston in the 1960s he met and befriended Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer. They visited the same voice teacher who helped them develop their musical talents. To care for himself, Tosh sold sugarcane juice in the slums. Tosh was the first member of his musical group to learn how to play instruments. He was self-taught in playing the guitar and keyboard and this inspired the others to learn too.
Peter Tosh was often described as a sarcastic man. He had a unique trait of developing names for anything he hated. Tosh would call politics, politricks, and Prime ministers, crime ministers. He took his beliefs seriously and was seen by some as a redeemer. Others hated him thinking he was rebellious. He spoke for those who didn’t have a voice and never hid his beliefs. In the music group, Tosh was a critical member. He wrote the hit songs Get up Stand up, No Sympathy, and 400 Years.
In 1973, the artist was in an accident with his girlfriend, Evonne. She died on the spot and Tosh sustained injuries to his skull. It was during this time, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer considered leaving the group. Bob Marley had gained the fame and the other friends needed to go solo to build their individual careers. Tosh’s solo debut was Legalize it which became popular and significant to advocates of marijuana legalisation, Rastafarians, and reggae music lovers.
His solo career was successful for the time it lasted. Once during a concert with Bob Marley, Tosh lit a marijuana joint and went on to give a lecture about cannabis and legalising it. He criticised dignitaries in attendance for their failure to establish such laws. Some months after the concert he was arrested for no apparent reason and beaten terribly while in custody.
Peter Tosh’s life was eventful. He died during a robbery in his home where three gunmen opened fire and he received two gunshots to the head. Some suspects were arrested but only one was convicted.