Bob Marley over Peter Tosh was less about racism and more about quality of music.

Bob Marley & Peter Tosh
Bob Marley & Peter Tosh

The following was written by Garvey Ufot and is in response to the post entitled What if Bob Marley’s father was Black and Peter Tosh’s faher was Whitle?

Yes,there may have been some racism in the reaction to Bob and Peter by Western audiences, but the disparity is more about the comparative qualities of some of their great albums. I personally thought that the quality of Peter Tosh’s solo studio albums dropped drastically after ‘Equal Rights'(1977) even though it picked up again with ‘Wanted Dread & Alive'(1981). Thus, of Tosh’s seven major studio albums:

i.Legalize It(1976)
ii.Equal Rights(1977)
iii.Bush Doctor(1978)
iv.Mystic Man(1979
v.Wanted Dread & Alive(1981)
vi.Mama Africa(1983)
vii.No Nuclear War(1987)

Only numbers i), ii) and v) had solid all round quality to keep the reggae fire burning. I am a Peter Tosh addict, but I was profoundly disappointed by the blandness and unrootsy quality of the songs in ‘Mystic Man’ and ‘Mama Africa’ in particular. Pray, what is so reggae about the song ‘No Nuclear War’? Now, the reggae quality of Bob’s albums within the same period never dropped. Rather, it only got better. Take a look at Bob’s solo studio albums:

Related Article:   Reggae is bigger than Bob Marley: King Jammy.

i.Natty Dread(1975)
ii.Rastaman Vibration(1976)
iii.Exodus(1977)
iv.Kaya(1978)
v.Survival(1979)
vi.Uprising(1980)
vii.Confrontation(1983)

All these albums remained rootsy, reggae and melodious without compromising the social commentary and militancy. In fact, Tosh it was who struggled more to appeal to white audiences with watered down ‘reggae’ songs such as ‘You Gotta Walk (and Don’t Look Back)’, ‘Buckingham Palace’, ‘Mystic Man’, ‘Glass House’, ‘Johnny B Goode’ and ‘No Nuclear War’. These are songs which have never really captured the imagination of roots reggae fans the way ‘Legalize It’, ‘Ketchy Shuby’, ‘Equal Rights’, ‘Jah Guide’, ‘Reggaemylitis’ and ‘Coming in Hot’ did. In contrast, Bob’s songs remained uncompromisingly rootsy throughout. Thus, it was more the problem of quality of some of their albums and songs, rather than that of racism or skin colour, which gave Bob Marley a slight edge over Peter Tosh in international acceptance. However, I loved and still love both artistes equally because, for me, their music represents the quintessential dominion of Roots Rock Reggae.

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6 Comments

  1. Garvey Ufot, you clearly don’t know the history of the Wailers. Do your research and consider the politics involved.

  2. Mr G UFOT
    I can only say that theese two legendary songwriters wrote diffrent songs,and work with diffrent musitions.In My opinion,Thosh was not in this world to copy what Marley did, you see.Toshs songs even during the wailers was diffrent,so yeah thats why he played his version of Jah music.
    Love and respect.
    U-key

  3. this article completely ignores of all peter tosh’s great solo work from the late 60’s and early 70’s… if you don’t know that material, you don’t know peter tosh… if you do know that material and deliberating aren’t mentioning it, you’re misleading people just to prove a (false) point…

  4. Peter was de mertyre nd de liberator to those who doesnt fear de trut nor fraid to speak their minds seen. He wont nd was never like Bob. He was not an entertainer but a wakenor dose hu r asleep. He taught me not to luk on one side of life nd Mr 5 nd to c de mark of de beast.

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