Tattoo Boulevard

REGGAE REBEL: PETER TOSH

If you were to take a crash course on the history of Reggae, you’d be hard pressed to find a more influential figure from the scene than Winston Hubert McIntosh, better known to the world as Peter Tosh. Oh, there have been more famous names in reggae (has anyone not heard of Bob Marley?), but few can match his influence.

Comparisons to Marley are natural, as both lived in and around the same Jamaican slums, and played in the same band, but the truth is that Tosh and Marley were very different creatures, with very different messages. Marley’s message was one of love; a recipe for how to transcend harsh reality, but it was precisely this harsh reality that Tosh saw and depicted in the music that cemented his influential status.

 Tosh rallied against the injustice of the world as he saw it, and in fact,the first two studio albums he released as a solo artist – ‘Legalize It’ (1975) and ‘Equal Rights’ (1977)  – clearly demonstrated that he was not a man to sit back and just blindly accept his place in an unjust world.  This blazing musical soap box is reminiscent of  some of the most influential musicians of the last decade such as Rage Against the Machine and The Beastie Boys. Sure, the music may sound light years from Tosh, but the spirit, the fight, the desire for social change; this attitude and spark are much the same. This is his legacy. Generations who refuse to accept the status quo, whether it be freedom in Tibet today or the regime in South Africa for Tosh, the spirit and drive remain the same.

 The attitude of Tosh is better put into perspective when compared to his peers. Whilst several acts were still throwing televisions out of hotel room windows in somewhat random acts of rebellion, Tosh was getting beaten by police for his outspoken beliefs. None of this should detract from his music, however, and with The Wailers, he wrote some of the classic tracks of his generation, and is considered to be one of the pioneers of the distinctive reggae guitar sound.  It was his musical fire and spirit that he is, and always will be best known for.

 People who saw Tosh perform as a solo artist never forgot the occasion – from his impromptu rants about the evils of the prohibition of marijuana, to his intense performance – the music and the politics and the smoke all merged into the making of a rebellious legend. Unlike so many, Tosh was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in, or even take a beating from the authorities for it on occasion. His fearless and controversial pushing for the legalisation of marijuana and for equal rights are what generations will remember Tosh for, articulated beautifully in music and iconically on stage.

  • Share/Bookmark

Posted in Uncategorized by tattoo on November 10th, 2010 at 2:27 am.

1 comment

Previous Post:   Next Post:

One Reply

  1. I absolutely love tattoos so much! I just turned 18 like 2 months ago and I already have 2 tattoos on my arm and plan on getting more. I think that everybody should at least have one tat in their life, it is just something you need to experience.