Tosh gets OM
FIREBRAND reggae singer Peter Tosh will be posthumously conferred Jamaica’s third highest honour, Order of Merit, in October.
Tosh, whose real name is Winston Hubert McIntosh, will receive the honour for his “seminal contribution to the evolution of Jamaican popular music”.
Herbie Miller, Tosh’s manager from 1976 to 1981, said the announcement is a most deserving recognition during Jamaica’s 50th year of Independence.
“It could not have come at a better time. Peter Tosh has helped to establish the identity and influence of Jamaica in the international community. He inspired oppressed people of South and south-west Africa during the 1970s to keep focus on the liberation that led to the dismantling of Apartheid. And, this was being done before many people knew what the word ‘Apartheid’ meant,” Miller told the
A founding member of The Wailers group — whose core comprised Bob Marley and Bunny ‘Wailer’ Livingston — Tosh heads a list of outstanding Jamaicans being bestowed National Honours and Awards.
The official ceremony is held at the governor general’s residence at King’s House in St Andrew in October.
Tosh’s 1976 major label album Legalize It (CBS Records), became the soundtrack for proponents worldwide seeking the legalisation of marijuana. The following year, his Equal Rights (CBS Records) openly took aim at the South African government’s Apartheid system.
In the 1980s, Tosh recorded for the Rolling Stones’ record label and the group’s lead singer Mick Jagger. Their cover version of the Temptation’s Don’t Look Back introduced Tosh to a market outside of reggae.
Miller said Tosh performed for free at anti-Apartheid concerts throughout Africa and inspired many artistes including South African reggae artiste Lucky Dube, who died in 2007.
“Prior to this, Peter was been ridiculed, overlooked and battered by the powers that be,” said Miller.
He said when Ian Smith “seized” power in Rhodesia in the late 1960s, Tosh was arrested in a demonstration outside the British High Commission in St Andrew.
“He co-wrote the 20th century’s anthem Get Up, Stand Up with Bob Marley. A fact which is often overlooked,” said Miller.
Marley, who died in May 1981, received an Order of Merit in April of that year.
Tosh was killed at his St Andrew home in September 1987. His former manager had high praises for this year’s crop of entertainment awardees.
“I congratulate all of them,” he said.
The list of recipients includes:
Neville ‘Bunny Wailer’ Livingston (Order of Jamaica); Fredrick ‘Toots’ Hibbert (Order of Jamaica); Peter Ashbourne (Order of Distinction — Commander class); Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (Order of Distinction — Commander class); Fred ‘Tony’ Gregory (Order of Distinction — Commander class); Clifton ‘Jackie’ Jackson (Order of Distinction — Commander class); Barry Moncrieffe (Order of Distinction — Commander class); and Cynthia Wilmot, (Order of Distinction — Commander class).