In Summary

  • Today 19 October in 1944, reggae musician Peter Tosh was born.
  • Tosh commenced his solo recording career in 1976 with Legalize It
  • No Nuclear War album, released in the year of his death, won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album

Born on October 19th 1944 in Winston Hubert McIntosh, aka Peter Tosh, was destined to be a force in Reggae.

After leaving for Kingston as a teenager he, Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston founded the Wailers with whom he enjoyed considerable success throughout the ska, rocksteady and early reggae eras, most notably for Studio One and Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Legendary Peter Tosh (Photo Courtesy)


Activism Through Music

Peter Tosh stood as an unapologetic advocate of what Marcus Garvey called “African Redemption” from extraordinarily  dynamic performances,  to musical expressions and of course an outspoken humanitarian/activist.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.


His outspoken call to “legalize it!” made him a target of police brutality in his day.

He was truly a man with a vision, and an advanced one at that. In countless interviews, speeches and songs, he argued that the herb “can build up your failing economy” and he hoped for the day when “there’ll be no more illegal humiliation and no more police interrogation.”

Tosh’s rallying cry may have seemed like a fantasy in the Jamaica of the 1970’s, but it continues to inspire and drive the legalization movement to this day, as the freedom to smoke as one wishes becomes a reality in more places.

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Tosh’s  Celebrated Albums

A core member of The Wailers with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, Tosh wrote many of the Wailers’ hit songs such as “Get Up, Stand Up”, “400 Years”, and “No Sympathy”.

Peter Tosh No Nuclear /Photo Courtesy


Wanted Dread and Alive, Legalise It, Mama Africa and Equal Rights contain some of Tosh’s most potent work with his No Nuclear War album, released in the year of his death, winning the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album

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Tosh, his wife Melody Cunningham (second from R.) and friends at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1981. Photo credit: Rebah Reiley.

Tosh Solo Career

Tosh commenced his solo recording career in 1976 with Legalize It (CBS Records) its title track calling for the decriminalization of the “healing herb” was banned in Jamaica.

Peter with the Wailers, early 1970s./Photo Courtesy

At Kingston’s historic One Love Peace Concert in 1978 where Bob Marley dramatically joined together the hands of the Island’s warring political leaders – Michael Manley and Edward Seaga – Tosh brazenly lit a marijuana spliff onstage then chastised both men for the government’s continual persecution of healing herb users.





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