It is inconceivable that it has been 30 years since the world lost Peter Tosh. One of the three original members, with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, of the foundational reggae group the Wailers, Tosh (born Winston Hubert McIntosh in 1944) was one of a kind: fierce, stubborn, opinionated, and single-mindedly insistent about equal rights and justice, African unity, anti-apartheid, and the legalization of herb.
As in his volatile life, Tosh did not go peacefully. On Sept. 11, 1987 he was murdered in Kingston in a violent home invasion, gunned down by three assailants, along with his wife and manager Marlene Brown, drummer Santa Davis, JBC radio DJ Jeff “Free-I” Dixon and his wife Yvonne, Michael Robinson and Wilton “Doc” Brown. Tosh, Free-I and Doc Brown were killed; the others survived.
This issue of The Beat, Vol. 6#5, 1987, was ready to go to press when the shocking news came of Tosh’s death. Our phenomenal staff had to do in one week what would normally take one or two months for an average issue: find photos and prepare a tribute to one of the foremost figures in reggae. We published a follow-up issue in December with material that was received too late to make the October edition. BOTB will present this material in future posts.
The feature story, “I Am That I Am: The Path of the Stepping Razor,” is a remembrance of and an interview with Tosh, by Timothy White, former editor of Rolling Stone and Billboard, and Bob Marley biographer. They met in Kingston, Jamaica in 1976, at the artistic high point in Peter’s post-Wailers career.
Interview with The Beat‘s founding editor Roger Steffens:
READ OR DOWNLOAD PDF: Beat6#5Tosh