Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

There he started an ap­pren­tice­ship as a welder be­fore link­ing with Bob Mar­ley, Bunny Wailer, Ju­nior Brath­waite and Bev­er­ley Kelso, to form the Wail­ing Wail­ers. Cre­at­ing a mix­ture of love and rev­o­lu­tion­ary songs, the group charted a course that some­what sig­nalled the di­rec­tion in which their ca­reer was head­ing, even as they were re­duced to a trio of Bob, Peter and Bunny. Although not singing lead, Tosh’s bass vo­cals was cru­cial to the suc­cess of hits like Just An­other Dance, One Love, Put it On, Jail­house and Love and Af­fec­tion. He did, how­ever, sing lead on the cuts Hoot Nanny Hoot and Maga Dog. Tosh in­deed de­clared from early the type of met­tle he was made of when, in his first solo ef­fort at Stu­dio 1 – I’m The Tough­est in 1965, he sang: “Any­thing you can do, I can do it bet­ter, I’m the tough­est. And I can do what you can do, You’ll never try to do what I do, I’m the tough­est.”

Es­tab­lish­ing his rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing out­spo­ken and un­com­pro­mis­ing on mat­ters of in­jus­tice, Tosh con­sis­tently chal­lenged the es­tab­lish­ment with­out fear or favour. Mov­ing to pro­ducer Joe Gibbs’ sub-la­bel Pres­sure Beat, he con­tin­ued his mu­si­cal on­slaught against the sys­tem in 1971 with Them Have Fi Get A Beaten. The sharp, biting lyrics ran in part: “I can’t stand this no longer, the wicked get stronger. I can’t stand this no longer, the bat­tle is get­ting hot­ter, them have fi get a beaten.”

Pro­ducer Lee Perry got a piece of the ac­tion with 400 Years – an at­tack against slav­ery, No Sympathy and Down­presser Man.


Af­ter the re­lease of the 1973 al­bum, Burn­ing, the sec­ond for pro­ducer Chris Black­well, Tosh left the group for a solo ca­reer, ex­it­ing with his self-penned an­themic song:

Get Up Stand Up, Stand Up For Your Right. Putting to­gether his own band – Word, Sound and Power, and cre­at­ing his own la­bel – In­tel Diplo H.I.M (In­tel­li­gent Diplo­mat for His Im­pe­rial Majesty), Tosh recorded his first al­bum, Equal Rights, in 1976, in which he de­clared, “I don’t want no peace, I need equal rights and jus­tice”. He fol­lowed up with Le­galise It the fol­low­ing year.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mick Jag­ger of the Rolling Stones, Tosh cre­ated the al­bums Bush Doc­tor, Mys­tic Man and Wanted Dread and Alive, be­tween 1978 and 1981. No Nu­clear War re­ceived a post­hu­mous Grammy award in 1988. A year ear­lier, on Septem­ber 11, Tosh was killed at his home, 38 days short of his 43rd birth­day.

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