Bob Marley vs. Peter Tosh. Who was the real lion?

Bob Marley & Peter Tosh
Bob Marley & Peter Tosh

If you listen to the songs “Lion” by Peter Tosh and “Iron Lion Zion” by Bob Marley, it is tempting to say there is something going on between the two artists. In fact, if it was dancehall, we would probably call the songs “clash songs” or “diss songs”.

When you first hear Peter’s lyrics; “You talking bout iron, lion but you can’t go to Zion” it sounds like it is in response to Bob Marley’s lyrics where he sang, “am gonna be iron like a lion from Zion.”

The truth is, however, Peter Tosh wrote his song before Bob Marley, so his song is not a response to Bob Marley’s song. In fact, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer are singing backup on the Peter Tosh’s song. But what would compel Bob to do Iron Lion Zion, knowing that Peter Tosh already did Lion? Maybe something was happening with Bob where Peter Tosh song Lion, reminded him of who he is supposed to be, so he recorded Iron Lion Zion to reaffirm his faith.

Regardless of how we interpret these two songs, one thing is for sure Peter Tosh song was not directed at Bob Marley as it was written and recorded before Bob’s. Plus, why would Bob sing backup on a song that was criticizing him? They are just two great songs by two great lions from Zion.

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This song sayin lion iron but you cant go to zion. See for example there are lots of guys who were dreadlocks who is one million miles away from rasta there are like night to day. see and i know concept of rasta mean righteousness.

You talkin’ about lion, iron, but you can’t go to zion
Talkin’ about lion, iron, but you far from zion

I only hear you words
But I don’t see no works
You think my father’s a fool
You never get away
No matter what you say
Cause you have broken my father’s rule

And then you come around, lion, iron, but you can’t go
to zion
Talkin’ ’bout lion, iron, but you far from zion

Knots on your head
Talkin’ ’bout you dread
And you believe, that is all
Long hair on your face
And your works is disgrace
You and the wicked them must fall

And then you talk about lion, iron, but you can’t go to
zion
Talkin’ ’bout lion, iron, but you far from zion

Preach lot in the days
And you kill in the nights
And you believe, that is right
Put down your gun
Or your days will be done
You won’t be around, to have no fun

So I am the lion, iron, and I must go to zion
I am the lion, iron, and I must go to zion
I am the lion, iron, and I must go to zion
Cause I am the lion, iron, and I must go to zion
No bet you, lion, iron, and I must go to zion
I am the lion, iron, and I must go to zion
Cause I am the lion, iron, and I must go to zion
No bet you, lion, iron

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Dress back baldhead bwai
Step back likkle pick out tail bwai, me is a big bwai
out dere

I am on the rock and then I check a stock
I have to run like a fugitive to save the life I live
I’m gonna be Iron like a Lion in Zion (repeat)
Iron Lion Zion
I’m on the run but I ain’t got no gun
See they want to be the star
So they fighting tribal war
And they saying Iron like a Lion in Zion
Iron like a Lion in Zion,
Iron Lion Zion

I’m on the rock, (running and you running)
I take a stock, (running like a fugitive)
I had to run like a fugitive just to save the life I live
I’m gonna be Iron like a Lion in Zion (repeat)
Iron Lion Zion, Iron Lion Zion, Iron Lion
Zion Iron like a Lion in Zion, Iron like
a lion in Zion Iron like a Lion in Zion

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14 Comments

  1. The one and only Iron Lion of Zion is Robert Nesta Marley. Peter’s up there with all the roots reggae greats, but Marley towers above all others, not just as the king of reggae but as one of the leading inspirations of our time!

  2. That PeterTosh song Lion is from 1972 when the Wailers were still together it is on the Tuff Gong record label long before Bob Marley’s Iron Lion Zion.. the song has nothing to do with Bob he probably sang backing vocals on it

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