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As for politicians, he talked of a 'Crime Minister' who 'shits' in the 'House of Represent-a-t'iefs'." A son of British colonial Jamaica, Tosh was even more disrespectful of the monarch, declaring: "Queen 'Ere Lies a Bitch". He was a strident campaigner against apartheid and refused invitations to perform in South Africa (playing instead in neighbouring Swaziland).As early as 1979 he was refusing to perform in Israel because of his support for a Palestinian homeland. "Peace," he told the feverish 40,000-strong crowd at the famous One Love Peace Concert in 1978, is "the diploma you get in the cemetery", written on your tombstone: "Rest in Peace! Standing 6ft 4in in his black beret and often wielding a guitar shaped in the form of an M16 assault rifle, he was the most militant member of the world's greatest reggae band, The Wailers.He knew what he was doing that charged evening as he strode to the microphone in his black martial arts uniform and put his life on the line in one of the most passionate and dangerous political speeches ever given by a musician.In October, near his family home in the rural Jamaican parish of Westmoreland, a two-day concert – Earth Strong Celebration – took place in the Peter Tosh Memorial Garden.Last year, the governing People's National Party – which Tosh supported – awarded him Jamaica's great honour, the Order of Merit, which was bestowed on Marley in the weeks before Bob's death from cancer in 1981. He was the victim of a treacherous murder, robbed and slain in his own home by an acquaintance: a brutal example of the desperate ghetto behaviour he had warned Jamaica's leaders about."You have the situation where Bob Marley calls his backing band The Wailers," says Masouri."It was an outrageous thing to do – as if Mick Jagger had formed a new band, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.
The Oscar-winning director, Kevin Macdonald, is planning a feature based around the making of Tosh's first great solo album Legalize It.He was taken into a police station and beaten relentlessly until his skull cracked open and the hand he attempted to shield himself with was broken. Tosh's earlier, braver action was not televised because he ordered the "lickle pirates from America...wid dem camera and dem TV business" to stop filming.Whereas Marley's funeral was a global news story and brought Jamaica to a standstill, Tosh's burial was a fiasco.
His mother had to disown one of the two 'fathers' who turned up and the service was interrupted by protesters, including one who stood by the coffin and implored the body to "Arise and open the casket! It's not clear how Peter Tosh, with all his revolutionary tendencies – musical and otherwise – would have regarded these belated celebrations of his memory and establishment-type attempts to reclaim him.
For Masouri, who compiled his biography over four years and based it on 100 interviews, Tosh's persona was exemplified by his relationship with the Rolling Stones.