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Go to Part Two of Peter Tosh Feature

Much of the EDGE of original Wailers came from their rebel attitude and, of the three, PETER TOSH was the real rebel.

One Love ConcertPeter Tosh - Live at the One Love Peace Concert - Calling it "a stunning political statement" and "a phenomenal live performance," reggae historian Roger Steffens says Peter Tosh Live at the One Love Peace Concert is "one of the most important live albums" in the genre's history.

Born Winston Hubert McIntosh on October 9, 1944, young Peter grew up in the Kingston, Jamaica slum of Trenchtown. Although his short-fuse temper usually kept him in trouble, earning him the nickname "Stepping Razor," he began to sing and learn guitar at a young age, inspired by the American stations he could pick up on his radio. In the early '60s he met Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston through his guitar teacher, Joe Higgs. In 1962 the trio formed the Wailing Wailers with Junior Braithwaite and back-up singers Beverly Kelso and Cherry Smith. The Wailing Wailers had a huge 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 America with his mother, but he returned to Jamaica in early 1967 with a renewed interest in music and a new spirituality. McIntosh and Bunny followed his lead, and the three became heavily involved in the Rastfarian movement. Soon afterwards, they formed the Wailers. (excerpt from Joe Hauler bio at Rolling Stone web)

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Along with Bunny (Livingston) Wailer, in 1964 Bob Marley recruited Peter MacIntosh as a guitar player and singer for The Wailing Rudeboys. Initially, Junior Braithwaite was the band's lead singer but in 1966 he left the band and Bob took over as lead singer with Bunny singing the high harmonies and Peter signing the bass parts. The three worked hard to perfect their style working with mentor, Joe Higgs. The first versions of 'Simmer Down', 'Put It On' and 'I'm Still Waiting' were recorded that year in the studios of Clement "Sir Coxone" Dodd.

In 1968, drummer Carly Barrett and brother Aston 'Family Man' Barrett on bass joined the Wailers from Lee Perry's Upsetter Band. Under the guiding hand of Perry as producer, The Wailers came into their own, recording such songs as 'Trenchtown Rock' and 'Small Axe'. Marley was not the only one writing songs for the band though. Many of the band's most powerful songs like '400 Years' and 'Stand Up For Your Rights' were contributed by Peter.

In 1972, the band was signed by Chris Blackwell to his fledgling Island Records and the band's international career was launched with two powerful albums, 'Burnin' and 'Catch A Fire' that planted the seeds for a Reggae revolution in world music.

By the end of 1974, Blackwell had positioned Marley as the star of the band and Bunny and Peter decided to go there separate ways.

Peter Tosh was 'the steppin' razor' of the three, always a passionate rebel along with being a great song writer and performer. The two photos above are during the rehearsals for his appearance on Saturday Night Live where Mick Jagger (of The Rolling Stones) joined him on stage to sing 'Walk and Don't Look Back'. Who can tell us the date of that show? E-Mail Ras John with your answer if you know...


I am a Peter Tosh fan and college student in Philadelphia up late on a Saturday night/Sunday morning and I happened to be flipping through the channels on the TV when I saw Peter Tosh, playing on what appeared to be the Saturday Night Live stage. I watched more, and it was the rerun of the time Tosh played on SNL, along with Mick Jagger, on December 16, 1978. I had no idea Peter Tosh had ever been on SNL, so I went online to see if I could find anything about this. I was directed to your website, where I found you asking this question. So here is the answer: Dec 16, 1978.
Yours truly,
Eric Moskowitz

Peter never did look back. Before his violent murder (many feel assassination is the more accurate word) in his home in 1987, Peter produced much great music, performed all over the world and had a profound influence on numerous other artists. Peter has a bunch of top notch studio albums with his final release, "No Nuclear War", the highlight from RadioREGGAE.com's perspective.

PETER TOSH - No Nuclear War 

For a little glimpse of Peter's achievement, Columbia / Legacy Records has released a great box set of Peter's material. "Honorary Citizen" features a well put together booklet and three CD's: Jamaican Singles / LIVE / Hits & Classic Album Cuts. Like his fellow Wailers, Bob and Bunny, there is no way everything you would want can be crammed into three or four CD's but this Legacy collection gives you many previously very rare cuts, some great live recordings (I think even better than what has previously been released commercially) and 13 Classic Album cuts - personally I would have liked to have more rare cuts...

PETER TOSH - Bush Doctor  

PETER TOSH - Honorary Citizen 

Go to Part Two of Peter Tosh Feature

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