Ginevra Holder

Written by Ginevra Holder

Modified & Updated: 15 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Peter Tosh, the legendary Jamaican musician and activist, remains an influential figure in the world of reggae music. Born Winston Hubert McIntosh on October 19, 1944, in Grange Hill, Jamaica, Tosh is best known as a member of the iconic reggae group, The Wailers, alongside Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer.

While Tosh’s contribution to The Wailers and his solo career are well-documented, there are many surprising facts about him that often go unnoticed. From his rebellious nature to his passion for marijuana legalization, Peter Tosh left an indelible mark on the music industry and society as a whole. In this article, we will delve into 12 surprising facts about Peter Tosh, shedding light on his life, music, and activism.

Key Takeaways:

  • Peter Tosh, a reggae legend, was a founding member of The Wailers and a fearless advocate for equal rights, leaving a lasting impact on music and social justice.
  • Despite his tragic death in 1987, Peter Tosh’s music and legacy continue to inspire and resonate with audiences worldwide, solidifying his status as a national hero in Jamaica.
Table of Contents

Peter Tosh was a founding member of the legendary reggae band, The Wailers.

Did you know that before pursuing a successful solo career, Peter Tosh was an integral part of The Wailers alongside Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer? Together, they helped shape the sound and message of reggae music, spreading their positive vibes and social consciousness to the world.

His birth name was Winston Hubert McIntosh.

Winston Hubert McIntosh, better known by his stage name Peter Tosh, adopted the name “Tosh” as a tribute to his favorite musician, Peter Tosh. He believed that the name change would bring him closer to his musical idol and help him achieve his dreams of becoming a renowned artist.

Peter Tosh was an outspoken advocate for the legalization of marijuana.

A prominent figure in the Rastafarian movement, Peter Tosh passionately advocated for the decriminalization and acceptance of marijuana. He firmly believed in its healing properties and its potential to enhance spiritual awareness. His iconic song “Legalize It” became an anthem for the pro-marijuana movement.

He was a multi-instrumentalist.

In addition to his incredible vocal talent, Peter Tosh was a skilled musician who played various instruments, including the guitar, piano, and organ. His exceptional musical abilities allowed him to experiment with different sounds and genres, creating a unique fusion of reggae, rock, and soul.

Peter Tosh’s hit song, “Johnny B. Goode,” was a cover of Chuck Berry’s classic.

One of Peter Tosh’s most well-known songs, “Johnny B. Goode,” is actually a cover of the legendary Chuck Berry’s rock and roll anthem. Tosh’s rendition infused the track with his infectious reggae style, taking the song to new heights and captivating audiences worldwide.

He was a fearless advocate for equal rights.

Peter Tosh’s music was filled with powerful messages of equality and justice for all. He fearlessly spoke out against racism, apartheid, and social injustices, using his platform to raise awareness and inspire change. His songs, such as “Equal Rights” and “Apartheid,” became anthems for the struggle against oppression.

Peter Tosh collaborated with numerous musical icons.

Throughout his career, Peter Tosh collaborated with a wide range of influential artists, demonstrating his versatility and musical prowess. He worked with the likes of Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, and Willie Nelson, creating memorable and timeless musical collaborations that showcased his unique talent.

He was a Grammy Award winner.

Peter Tosh’s musical genius was recognized with a Grammy Award in 1988, posthumously winning the Best Reggae Recording category for his album “No Nuclear War.” This achievement cemented his position as one of reggae music’s most iconic and influential figures.

He had a deep spiritual connection to Africa.

As a Rastafarian, Peter Tosh had a profound spiritual connection to Africa. He viewed Africa as the homeland of his ancestors and drew inspiration from its rich history and culture. His songs often showcased his love for Africa and his desire for unity among African people.

Peter Tosh was tragically killed in 1987.

Despite his tremendous contributions to music and activism, Peter Tosh’s life was cut short when he was fatally shot during a home invasion in His untimely death was a great loss to the music industry and the world, but his legacy and impact continue to live on.

He was posthumously awarded the Order of Merit by the Jamaican government.

In recognition of his immense contributions to Jamaican music and culture, Peter Tosh was awarded the Order of Merit, the country’s third-highest honor, posthumously in This prestigious accolade solidified his status as a national hero and further immortalized his legacy.

Peter Tosh’s music continues to inspire and resonate with audiences worldwide.

The timeless music of Peter Tosh transcends generations and continues to captivate listeners around the world. His profound lyrics, infectious rhythms, and unwavering commitment to social justice ensure that his impact will be felt for years to come.


In conclusion, Peter Tosh was a remarkable artist who left an indelible mark on the music industry and the world. His talent, passion, and activism set him apart, and his music continues to resonate with fans of all generations. From his contributions to the success of The Wailers to his solo career and advocacy for social justice, Tosh’s impact cannot be understated. Whether you’re a fan or new to his music, exploring the surprising facts about Peter Tosh offers a deeper understanding of his artistry and the legacy he left behind.


Q: Where was Peter Tosh born?

A: Peter Tosh was born in Grange Hill, Jamaica.

Q: What was Peter Tosh’s real name?

A: Peter Tosh’s real name was Winston Hubert McIntosh.

Q: Did Peter Tosh play any musical instruments?

A: Yes, Peter Tosh was skilled in playing various instruments including guitar, keyboards, and percussion.

Q: Did Peter Tosh have a solo career?

A: Yes, after leaving The Wailers, Peter Tosh pursued a successful solo career with albums like “Legalize It” and “Equal Rights”.

Q: What was Peter Tosh’s contribution to the music industry?

A: Peter Tosh played a pivotal role in popularizing reggae music worldwide. His unique sound and powerful lyrics made a significant impact on the genre.

Q: Was Peter Tosh involved in activism?

A: Yes, Peter Tosh was a vocal advocate for human rights and equal justice. He used his music as a platform to raise awareness and fight against oppression.

Q: What awards did Peter Tosh receive?

A: Peter Tosh was posthumously awarded the Order of Merit, Jamaica’s third highest honor, for his contributions to music and culture.

Q: Did Peter Tosh collaborate with other artists?

A: Yes, Peter Tosh collaborated with various musicians including Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones and Keith Richards.

Q: Was Peter Tosh ever arrested for his activism?

A: Yes, Peter Tosh was arrested multiple times for his political views and activism, which oftentimes included advocating for the legalization of marijuana.

Q: How did Peter Tosh pass away?

A: Peter Tosh tragically passed away on September 11, 1987, as a result of a home invasion that turned violent.

Q: What is Peter Tosh’s legacy?

A: Peter Tosh’s legacy is one of musical brilliance, activism, and fearlessness. His music continues to inspire generations and his advocacy for social justice remains influential.

Q: Where can I listen to Peter Tosh’s music?

A: Peter Tosh’s music is available on various music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.

Peter Tosh's incredible legacy continues to inspire reggae enthusiasts and music lovers across the globe. His rebellious spirit, undeniable talent, and unwavering commitment to social justice have left an indelible mark on the world of music. As you've discovered these surprising facts about Peter Tosh, why not explore the fascinating life of another reggae legend, Bunny Wailer? From his early days with The Wailers to his solo career and spiritual journey, Bunny Wailer's story is one that will captivate and inspire you.

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