Peter Tosh: Behind the Music #77*

Season 1 Ep 778/29/1999

Peter Tosh was born in Jamaica in 1944 into a very religious Christian family. At age 15, he moved into the city of Kingston to pursue a music career, and soon met and befriended the young Bob Marley. The two, along with another youth nicknamed "Bunny," formed a reggae band called the Wailers. Although widely successful in Jamaica, The Wailers' international success was minimal. Tosh and Bunny left the band to pursue solo projects, only to see Marley take the Wailers to huge international acclaim. This left Tosh jealous of his childhood friend and ex-band mate. Tosh's solo projects including "Legalize It" and "Equal Rights" promoted an anti-oppression, pro-Rastafarinism, pro-Black, pro-marijuana message. The albums did not sell well. This fact, paired with Tosh's jealousy over Marley's success, and following a police assault on him after he spoke out against government corruption, left Tosh broken down both mentally and physically. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, both fans of Tosh's music, soon took an interest and signed Tosh as the first act on their own label. However, Tosh's outspoken and stubborn personality caused problems between him and the Stones. He hijacked Keith's house as payback for what he saw as an unsatisfactory salary. After Bob Marley's death in 1981, Tosh went into semi-retirement until 1987. Ready to start anew, he faced his final misfortune when an ex-con/old friend in need of money gunned him down in his own home.