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Thu, 10.19.1944

Peter Tosh, Reggae Musician born

Peter Tosh

*Peter Tosh was born on this date in 1944.  He was a Jamaican reggae musician.  Peter Tosh was born Winston Hubert McIntosh in Westmoreland, the westernmost parish of Jamaica. He was abandoned by his parents and "shuffled among relatives." When McIntosh was fifteen, his aunt died, and he moved to Trenchtown in Kingston, Jamaica.

He first learned guitar after watching a man in the country play a song that captivated him. He watched the man play the same song for half a day, memorizing everything his fingers were doing. He then picked up the guitar and returned the song to the man.  During the early 1960s, as an aspiring musician, Tosh went to vocal teacher Joe Higgs, who gave free music lessons to young people.

Through his contact with Higgs, Tosh met Robert Nesta Marley (Bob Marley) and Neville O'Reilly Livingston (Bunny Wailer). He then changed his name to Peter Tosh, and the trio started singing together in 1962. Higgs taught the trio to harmonize, and while developing their music, they would often play on the street corners of Trenchtown.   In 1964 Tosh helped organize the band the Wailing Wailers. Initially, Tosh was the only group member who could play musical instruments. According to Bunny Wailer, Tosh was critical of the band because he was a self-taught guitarist and keyboardist, thus inspiring the other band members to learn to play.

The Wailing Wailers had a major ska hit with their first single, "Simmer Down," and recorded several more successful singles before Braithwaite, Kelso, and Smith left the band in late 1965. Marley spent much of 1966 in Delaware in the United States with his mother, Cedella (Malcolm) Marley-Booker, and for a brief time was working at a nearby Chrysler factory. He returned to Jamaica in early 1967 with a renewed interest in music and a new spirituality. When Marley returned from the US, Tosh and Bunny were already Rastafarians, and the three became very involved with the Rastafari faith. Soon afterward, they renamed the musical group the Wailers. Tosh would explain later that they chose Wailers because "wail" means to mourn or, as he put it, " one's feelings vocally".

He also claimed that he was the beginning of the group and that he first taught Bob Marley the guitar.  During the mid-1960s, Tosh, Bob Marley, and Bunny Wailer signed an exclusive recording contract on the JAD Records label. Rejecting the up-tempo dance of ska, the band slowed their music to a rocksteady pace and infused their lyrics with political and social messages inspired by their newfound faith.  

The collaboration had given birth to reggae music, and in 1970 bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton Barrett, joined the group. They recorded The Best of the Wailers album, produced by Leslie Kong and released in 1971. Peter Tosh was one of the core members of the band Wailers, after which he established himself as a successful solo artist and promoter of Rastafari. was murdered during a home invasion on September 11, 1987.  

According to Police Commissioner Herman Ricketts, Dennis "Leppo" Lobban surrendered, and two other men were interrogated but not publicly named. Lobban pleaded innocent during his trial, telling the court he had been drinking with friends. The trial was held in a closed court due to the involvement of illegal firearms. Lobban was ultimately found guilty by a jury of eight women and four men and sentenced to death by hanging. His sentence was commuted in 1995, and Lobban remains in jail. Another suspect was acquitted due to insufficient evidence. The other two gunmen were never identified by name. 

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