Peter Tosh’s groundbreaking achievements in taking reggae to the mainstream are remarkable: A founding member of legendary Jamaican super group The Wailers (alongside Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer in 1962), Tosh co-wrote the group’s timeless global anthem “Get Up Stand Up;” opened up for the Rolling Stones’ on their “Some Girls” tour; was the first reggae artist to play “Saturday Night Live;” had one of MTV’s earliest reggae videos; and won a Best Reggae Album Grammy. And yet, to most people, Tosh’s career accomplishments are nearly forgotten by all but roots reggae’s most ardent followers.
Through the diligence of his children and former manager Herbie Miller, however, Tosh’s contributions are beginning to be recognized. For example, he recently received one of Jamaica’s highest distinctions: The Order of Merit which was bestowed upon the deceased singer at an official government ceremony on Oct. 15 (Heroes Day, a national holiday) 25 years after he was murdered at his Kingston home on September 11, 1987, at age 42.
“I noticed that honors were given to artists far less deserving than Peter, explained Miller who managed Tosh from 1976-1981, “so six years ago I began writing articles about him in the Jamaican newspapers so he would be remembered.” Miller spearheaded the award campaign sending his writings to Omar Davies, a former Minister of Culture who began the lobbying process inside Jamaica’s parliament, which led to the 2012 designation.
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