Having quit The Wailers and Island Records (he would frequently call the label boss Chris Blackwell, “Chris Whiteworst”), Tosh delivered Legalize It in 1976.
The album was less politically focused than Tosh’s later work, but listeners loved his exuberance – and the cover image of him in a marijuana field. The album charted at #54 in the UK, staking Tosh’s claim to Marley‘s place atop reggae’s emerging pantheon.
The following year, Equal Rights, focussed even more sharply on the iniquity that underpinned Jamaican society.
“Everyone is crying out for peace”, he reported on the title track, “none is crying out for justice”.
But however overt Tosh’s message, it never overpowered the music; Roots reggae at its best – all diamond-hard rhythms and immaculate harmonies.
Peter Tosh was murdered on 11 September 1987.