September 11, 1987: Peter Tosh Killed

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The death of Peter Tosh was at the hands of a man he had once helped

Murdered by gunmen at age 42 at his home in Kingston, Jamaica, Peter Tosh brought a more radical vision to reggae than his former bandmate, Bob Marley. Known as the “Stepping Razor” from a song in which he declared himself “dangerous,” the man born Winston Hubert Mcintosh even performed with a guitar made to resemble an M16 rifle. He was a passionate advocate for legalizing herb (marijuana), human rights and his Rastafari religion.

In 1974 he left the Wailers, the group he was in with Marley and Bunny Wailer, due to objections he had with their direction when Island Records owner Chris Blackwell – who Tosh nicknamed “Whiteworst” – decided to make Marley its main focus and refused to issue a Tosh solo album.

He debuted on his own on Columbia Records in 1976 with Legalize It followed by Equal Rights the following year. Then signed to Rolling Stones Records, in 1978 he released a single from his Bush Doctor LP of a Temptations song co-written by Smokey Robinson under the appended title “(You Gotta Walk And) Don’t Look Back” that was a duet with Mick Jagger, who also made a surprise appearance with Tosh in December 1978 on Saturday Night Live, boosting his profile with American audiences.

Watch Tosh and Jagger sing “(You Gotta Walk And) Don’t Look Back”

Known for being tough-minded and sometimes difficult, his death ironically stemmed from an act of kindness and charity. He had assisted Dennis “Leppo” Lobban following his release from prison. When Tosh was entertaining friends on the evening of Sept. 11, 1987, after returning from a tour, an armed Lobban and two other gunman came to his house demanding money. Unable to pay, Tosh was shot in the head by Lobban and died.

Tosh was born on October 19, 1944. In 2012, Jamaica honored him with its Order of Merit.

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  1. Jas
    #1 Jas 12 September, 2022, 01:27

    My favorite Jagger duet is with Peter Tosh when they did Gonna Walk and Don’t Look Back on SNL.

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    • Lionzuon
      Lionzuon 5 February, 2023, 18:40

      I saw Tosh in concert in Toronto summer of 1979. I remember he preached a lot unlike Marley who sang more. But nevertheless Tosh was and still is a musical genius. I miss both he and Marley everyday. But at least I got to see both in concert before their untimely deaths.

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