Thu. Aug. 16, 2018

Peter Tosh / Mick Jagger – Don’t Look Back

Classics: Peter Tosh & Mick Jagger – Don’t Look Back (Rolling Stones Records)

Many are those who came to deliver their own interpretation of The Temptations‘ ‘Don’t Look Back’. Beginning with Phil Collins. But also Teena Marie and Bobby Womack. Meanwhile the very first to give it a version in Jamaica happened to be Rocksteady pair Keith Rowe and Texas Dixon, better known as Keith & Tex, back in 1968. Although its most famous rendition is probably the one by the likes of Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger. Bringin’ ex-The Wailers founding member Peter Tosh to the forefront. And, in the meantime, showcasing once again Mick Jagger‘s incredible versatility…

Sly Dunbar on drums and Robbie Shakespeare responsible for the production add their part to the flow of this gem. Not to mention Luther François‘s jazzy soprano sax part. With the whole most likely enhancing the uplifting side of its lyrics. “If you just put your hand in mine, We’re gonna leave all our troubles behind. We’re gonna walk and don’t look back…”

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Overview
– I guess as far as I can think of contemporary music, The Rolling Stones and their lead singer (Mick Jagger) have always been around. Pavin’ their way and, by that, punctuating history with significant lyrics. Meanwhile makin’ proof of their versatility if not avant-gardism. Such as on the psyche/ambient ‘2000 Light Years Away From Home’ back in 1967. But also ‘Gimme Shelter’ as a protest song against the Vietnam War. Then how not to think of the vibrant ‘Sister Morphine’ from the memorable ‘Sticky Fingers’ album? Or their flirt with Disco vibes on the extended version of ‘Miss You’ back in 1978?!?

Meanwhile, and unsurprisingly, Jagger would explore extra teritories whenever going solo. Sharing the duties with Michael Jackson and his brothers on ‘State Of Shock’. But also covering Bill Withers‘ classic ‘Use Me’ with Lenny Kravitz. When not partnering with Chic‘s Nile Rodgers responsible for the production of ‘1/2 A Loaf’ back in 1985. Or jamming along with Peter Tosh on a cover version of The Temptations‘ classic ‘Don’t Look Back’. As many reasons pretty much justifying their presence on these shores. Don’t you think?

– A native of Grange Hill, Jamaica, Winston Hubert McIntosh, better known as Peter Tosh, spent most of his youth with relatives after his parents abandoned him. Movin’ to Kingston, Trenchtown at the age of 15 after his aunt hasd passed, he picked up a guitar by watching a man playing a song that caught up his attention. He memorized everything the man’s fingers were doing. And when he played the song back to the man, the latter asked him who taught him to play to which Tosh responded that was him.

Tosh met Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer by the beginning of the 60’s. And together they went to vocal teacher Joe Higgs. A man who was givin’ out free vocal lessons to young people in the hope to form a new band. The threesome started singin’ in 1962. With Tosh working on the organization of the band. Meanwhile welcoming falsetto singer Junior Braithwaite and backup singers Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith. But also teaching the other members of the band to play instruments.

They left the trending Ska at the time and kinda slowed their music to adopt some Rocksteady vibes. Meanwhile infusing their lyrics with political and social messages.

The Wailers composed several songs for Johnny Nash. They then partnered with producer Lee Perry to record some of the earliest famous Reggae standards. From ‘Soul Rebel’ to ‘Duppy Conqueror’ and ‘Small Axe’. Bassist Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton Barrett joinin’ the group in 1970. They signed a recording deal three years after with Chris Blackwell and Island Records, releasing their debut-album – ‘Catch A Fire’ – soon after. And eventually followin’ it with ‘Burnin’ that same year.

Tosh and Bunny Wailer left The Wailers after Island Records CEO Chris Blackwell refused to release his solo album in 1974. Even though he’d written ùany of The Wailers‘ classics such as ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ or ‘No Sympathy’. This resulting in Tosh droppin’ his debut-album – ‘Legalize It’ – on Columbia two years later. He nevertheless reached another level when sharing the bill with Mick Jagger on a cover version of The Temptations‘ classic ‘Don’t Look Back’, the lead single from his 1978 ‘Bush Doctor’ album. A status he never managed to maintain. Even though he received Grammy Award for ‘Best Reggae Performance’ in 1987 for ‘No Nuclear War’, his last record. That same year seeing him tragically tortured to death at his home by a gang in an attempt to extort money from him back on Sept. 11, 1987.

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