2017 Entertainment Highlights

Sunday, December 31, 2017

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The Jamaica Observer 's Entertainment Desk concludes its daily year in review of people who made an impact during 2017.

The bittersweet emotions Peter Tosh evoked in life were evident in 2017 when two important milestones acknowledging the singer/songwriter's legacy were observed.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of his tragic death at age 43. He, Jeff “Free I” Dixon and Wilton Brown were murdered at his St Andrew home in September 1987, six years after Bob Marley, his colleague in The Wailers, died from cancer at age 36.

Tosh's genius as a songwriter was also recalled. Equal Rights, his celebrated second album for CBS Records, turned 40.

To commemorate the landmarks, his Word, Sound and Power band performed a tribute concert in October at Pulse headquarters in Kingston, site of the Peter Tosh Museum.

It was the second-straight year the band played at the venue as a mark of respect to their former leader who would have been 73 years-old this year. The museum, which houses several of his noted possessions, opened in October 2016.

A number of artistes, including his son Andrew Tosh and grandson Dre Tosh, performed many of his songs on the event.

Some of those songs were from Equal Rights, which captured the fiery Tosh at his rebellious best. In 1976, CBS had released the controversial Legalize It, his passionate call for the legalisation of ganja; Equal Rights was a powerful statement that addressed issues like apartheid in South Africa and oppression of black people globally.

It contained songs like Get Up, Stand Up — the anthem he co-wrote with Marley — Downpressor Man, Stepping Razor, I Am That I Am, and African. Those tracks formed the backbone of his live performances until his death.

Interestingly, Tosh won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording (as the Best Reggae Album category was known) in 1988 for No Nuclear War. Given the threat of an atomic blow-up between the United States and North Korea, the 30th anniversary of that triumph could be ominous.

— Howard Campbell




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