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Peter Tosh 9/1987

peter toshSeptember 11, 1987 – Winston Hubert McIntosh better known as Peter Tosh/Stepping Razor was a Jamaican guitarist and singer in the original Wailers of Bob Marley & the Wailers fame.  Born in Petersfield on October 19th 1944, he became a pioneer reggae musician, as the original guitarist for The Wailers and he is actaully considered as one of the originators of the choppy, syncopated reggae guitar style, and as trailblazer for the Rastafari movement and the fight to legalize cannabis.

He was a target for the police and underwent many beatings. In the early 60s Winston met Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer through his vocal teacher, Joe Higgs. While perfecting their sound, the trio would often play together on street corners in a slum called Trenchtown. In ’62, he was the driving force behind the formation of The Wailing Wailers with Junior Braithwaite and backup singers Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith.

They recorded several successful singles, including a huge ska hit single, “Simmer Down”. In 1967 Winston, Bob Marley and Bunny became heavily involved in the Rastafari movement and formed The Wailers as they were evolving from Ska to Reggae.

However he left The Wailers in ’74 not long after a horrific car accident and started a solo career under the name of Peter Tosh. He released his solo debut, Legalize It, in 1976 which became an anthem for supporters of cannabis legalization. Tosh put together a backing band, Word, Sound and Power, who accompanied him on tour over the next few years. One of his writings that reached global recognition was the ditty: Shame and Scandal in the Family.

He also performed in the international opposition to South African apartheid by appearing at Anti-Apartheid concerts and by reflecting his stance in various songs like “Apartheid” in 1977, re-recorded 1987, “Equal Rights” in 1977, “Fight On” in 1979, and 1983’s “Not Gonna Give It Up”.

In 1991 Stepping Razor – Red X was released, a film – documentary based upon a series of spoken-word recordings of Tosh himself, which chronicled the story of the artist’s life, music and untimely death. (He had been awarded a Grammy for Best Reggae Performance in 1987 for No Nuclear War.

On his return to Jamaica, he was holding a party with good friends at his home on September 11, when a guy he had been helping out on several occasions, came with friends to rob him and his guests. During the altercation he was brutally shot dead in his home in Kingston, Jamaica.

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