NUFUNK Concerts in association with Snapd is proud to present the 27th Annual Peter Tosh Tribute featuring an All-star line up of Canadian-Jamaican Musicians & Artists. A heartfelt tribute to the late great reggae pioneer will feature House of David Gang, opening set by Circle 5 and joined by DJs DJs Vas & Gene Reuben of Dub Connection Soundsystem and Brooklyn’s No Wahala DJs.
The tragic and premature death of Peter Tosh, 30 years ago, on September 11, 1987 robbed the world of a great reggae artist and political activist. Peter Tosh was one of the most militant reggae recording artists, his name, face and songs stand as a symbol of inspiration to people around the world.
Peter Tosh Bio
“Don’t you watch my size, I’m dangerous” Peter Tosh lyrics from the song Stepping Razor
Peter Tosh was, and still, in death, remains Jamaican music royalty. Aside from his longtime friend and fellow Wailers founder Bob Marley, virtually no other reggae artist has garnered a legacy as vast and enduring as Tosh’s. Born outside of Kingston in rural Westmoreland, Jamaica in 1944, Tosh came to prominence in the burgeoning Jamaican reggae scene in the mid-60’s along with Marley and Bunny Wailer in a group that would eventually be known as The Wailers. The Wailers, who scored a #1 hit in 1964 with the ska jam “Simmer Down,” became a huge commercial success. The New York Times referred to them as “the most popular and admired of all reggae groups” and the band sold more than 250 million albums worldwide. Upon their separation in 1973, each went solo.
Peter Tosh began recording and released his solo debut, Legalize It, in 1976 with CBS Records company. The title track soon became popular among endorsers of marijuana legalization, reggae music lovers and Rastafari all over the world, and was a favorite at Tosh’s concerts. His second album Equal Rights followed in 1977.
Tosh organized a backing band, Word, Sound and Power, who were to accompany him on tour for the next few years, and many of whom performed on his albums of this period. In 1978 the Rolling Stones record label Rolling Stones Records contracted with Tosh, on which the album Bush Doctor was released, introducing Tosh to a larger audience. The album featured Rolling Stones frontmen Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and the lead single – a cover version of The Temptations song “Don’t Look Back” – was performed as a duet with Jagger. It made Tosh one of the best-known reggae artists. Mystic Man (1979), and Wanted Dread and Alive (1981) followed, both released on Rolling Stones Records. Tosh tried to gain some mainstream success while keeping his militant views, but was largely unsuccessful, especially compared to Marley’s achievements. That same year, Tosh appeared in the Rolling Stones’ video Waiting on a Friend.
Tosh also participated in the international opposition to South African apartheid by appearing at Anti-Apartheid concerts and by conveying his opinion in various songs like “Apartheid” (1977, re-recorded 1987), “Equal Rights” (1977), “Fight On” (1979), and “Not Gonna Give It Up” (1983). In 1991 Stepping Razor – Red X was released, a documentary film by Nicholas Campbell, produced by Wayne Jobson and based upon a series of spoken-word recordings of Tosh himself, which chronicled the story of the artist’s life, music and untimely death. In 1987, Peter Tosh seemed to be having a career revival. He was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Performance in 1987 for No Nuclear War, his last record.