Reggae historian, Roger Steffens, has expressed what he believes are the reasons Peter Tosh was not able to step up and replace Bob Marley as the king of reggae music after the latter died in 1981.
According to Steffens, Tosh did make an attempt to sit in Marley’s throne but the Stepping Razor’s own actions prevented him from being successful at the monumental task. For one, Peter Tosh did not show any sadness over the death of Bob and this turned fans off in Jamaican and all over the world.
“Peter was ready to take over but lost a lot of fans when he didn’t express any great sympathy for Bob’s passing,” Steffens said.
Whether Tosh had no sense of sadness for Bob’s passing is debatable. It is true that he did not attend Bob’s funeral but it is also well known knowledge that most Rasta don’t attend funerals as they take the “let the dead bury the dead” passage from the bible literally/
There were even some fans who wrongly attributed Tosh’s song “Burial” to Marley. The truth is, however, Burial was recorded and released before Marley’s death/ Burial was featured on Tosh’s 1976 “Legalize It” album and Bob died 5 years later in 1981.
Another reason Tosh could not take Bob’s crown is that the album Tosh was working on at the time of Bob’s death did not meet the quality of Marley’s last album.
When Marley died, Tosh had just completed recording his Wanted Dread And Alive album on Rolling Stones Records. While it was a great album it was not at the standard of Marley’s last album before he died, Uprising.
In fact, according to Steffens, since Marley’s death, the standard in Reggae has declined steadily.
“We can see in the aftermath [of Marley’s death] exactly how important his presence was. The biggest star to emerge was Yellowman, who was the moral opposite of Bob Marley,” Steffens said.
The reggae historian believes it is senseless to even look for another Bob Marley as he left just too big of shoes to fill.
“I think Cat Coore summed it up the best when he said, ‘Everyone is judged on a scale of one to Bob Marley.’ He was just one of a kind,” Steffens concluded.