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Late reggae icon Peter Tosh receives honor from Jamaica

  • FILE - In this Feb. 1979 file photo, Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh is shown in the office of a record company in Hollywood, California. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 1979 file photo, Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh is shown in the office of a record company in Hollywood, California. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 16, 1978 file photo, Mick Jagger, left, of the Rolling Stones, joins Jamaica's reggae musician Peter Tosh during a rehearsal for NBC's ?Saturday Night Live," program in New York. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 16, 1978 file photo, Mick Jagger, left, of the Rolling Stones, joins Jamaica's reggae musician Peter Tosh during a rehearsal for NBC's ?Saturday Night Live," program in New York. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 16, 1978 file photo, Mick Jagger, left, of the Rolling Stones, joins Jamaica's reggae musician Peter Tosh during a rehearsal for NBC's ?Saturday Night Live," program in New York. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 16, 1978 file photo, Mick Jagger, left, of the Rolling Stones, joins Jamaica's reggae musician Peter Tosh during a rehearsal for NBC's ?Saturday Night Live," program in New York. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 1979 file photo, Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh is shown in the office of a record company in Hollywood, California. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 1979 file photo, Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh is shown in the office of a record company in Hollywood, California. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 1979 file photo, Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh is shown in the office of a record company in Hollywood, California. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)
  • FILE - In this Dec. 16, 1978 file photo, Mick Jagger, left, of the Rolling Stones, joins Jamaica's reggae musician Peter Tosh during a rehearsal for NBC's ?Saturday Night Live," program in New York. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)
  • FILE - In this Dec. 16, 1978 file photo, Mick Jagger, left, of the Rolling Stones, joins Jamaica's reggae musician Peter Tosh during a rehearsal for NBC's ?Saturday Night Live," program in New York. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)
  • FILE - In this Feb. 1979 file photo, Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh is shown in the office of a record company in Hollywood, California. For his musical contributions, Tosh's daughter, Niambe, received on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, the posthumous "Order of Merit" for her father, during the island's annual national heroes ceremony. Tosh, a founding member of the reggae band The Wailers along Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, was killed in 1987 at age 42 by robbers who broke into his Jamaican home. (AP Photo/File)

Tosh’s daughter Niambe, an educator from Boston, Massachusetts, received the posthumous “order of merit” — the country’s third highest honor — on behalf of her late father during an annual national awards ceremony on the lawns of King’s House, the residence of Jamaica’s governor general.

Tosh was a founding member of the Wailers, forming the three-man core of the group with Bob Marley and Bunny “Wailer” Livingston. Hard-hitting solo albums like “Equal Rights” and his work with the Wailers helped make homegrown reggae music known internationally. He was cut down at age 42 in 1987, murdered by robbers in his Jamaican home.

The always outspoken, defiant Tosh was known for forcefully denouncing apartheid, government corruption and calling for the legalization of marijuana. Musical colleagues and fans say the lanky, baritone singer and guitarist was a mesmerizing performer with a charismatic, larger-than-life personality. Tosh is perhaps reggae’s most controversial figure. During the government-organized One Love Peace Concert of 1978, Tosh publicly accused Jamaica’s political leaders and the middle class of backing police brutality and politically charged gang warfare amid a legendary 20-minute diatribe. The Jamaican media severely criticized Tosh for the speech, delivered to an audience that included 200 foreign journalists and the prime minister.

For his uncompromising views and his insistence on openly smoking marijuana, the Rastafarian musician was severely beaten by police on several occasions, sustaining 32 stitches in his head, a broken rib, a fractured arm, and a punctured spleen during these altercations, according to former manager Herbie Miller.

With the Wailers, Tosh co-wrote the black power anthem “Get Up, Stand Up” and penned songs like “400 Years,” a scathing song about slavery. After he left the group in 1973, just as the Wailers’ album “Catch a Fire” was winning reggae a global audience, Tosh formed his own band - Word, Sound and Power - and wrote more songs filled with political content. “Mama Africa” denounced apartheid in South Africa; “Legalize It” called for the legalization of marijuana.

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