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Joan Baez

Joan Baez in Seattle, Washington August 13, 2009
Background information
Birth name Joan Chandos Baez
Born January 9, 1941 (1941-01-09) (age 69)
Origin Staten Island, New York
United States
Genres folk, folk rock
Occupations singer, songwriter
Instruments vocals, guitar, piano, ukulele
Years active 1958—present
Labels Vanguard (1960–1971)
A&M (1972–1977)
Portrait/CBS (1977–1981)
Gold Castle (1987–1991)
Virgin (1991–1993)
Guardian (1995–2002)
Koch (2003–present)
Associated acts Jackson Browne, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Judy Collins, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Mimi Fariña, the Grateful Dead, Janis Ian, the Indigo Girls, Odetta, Pete Seeger, Paul Simon, Dar Williams
Website joanbaez.com

Joan Chandos Baez (born January 9, 1941, in Staten Island, New York) is a folk singer, songwriter and activist. Baez has a distinctive vocal style,with a strong vibrato,[1] and her recordings have included topical songs and material dealing with social issues.

Baez began her career performing in coffeehouses in the Boston-Cambridge area, and rose to fame as an unbilled performer at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She began her recording career in 1960, and achieved immediate success. Her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. 2, and Joan Baez in Concert all achieved gold record status, and stayed on the charts for two years.[2]

She is well known for her hit "Diamonds & Rust" and her covers of Phil Ochs's "There but for Fortune" and The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (a top-five single on the United States charts in 1971). Other songs associated with Baez include "Farewell, Angelina" and "Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word" — along with "Joe Hill", "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "We Shall Overcome" (three of the songs she performed at the 1969 Woodstock Festival).

She helped to bring the songs of Bob Dylan to national prominence, and has displayed a lifelong commitment to political and social activism in the fields of nonviolence, civil and human rights and the environment.[3]

Baez has performed publicly for over 50 years, released over 30 albums and recorded songs in at least eight languages. She is regarded as a folk singer, although her music has diversified since the 1960s, encompassing everything from rock and pop to country and gospel. Although a songwriter herself, Baez is generally regarded as an interpreter of other people's work, having recorded songs by The Allman Brothers Band, The Beatles, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, The Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and many others. In recent years, she has found success interpreting songs of modern songwriters such as Ryan Adams, Steve Earle and Natalie Merchant.

Contents

Family

Her father, Albert Baez, was born in 1912 in Puebla, Mexico, and died March 20, 2007.[4] His father (Joan's grandfather), the Reverend Alberto Baez, left Catholicism to become a Methodist minister and moved to the U.S. when Albert was two years old. Albert grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where his father preached to — and advocated for — a Spanish-speaking congregation.[5] Her father considered becoming a minister as well, before he turned to the study of mathematics and physics. He became a physicist (co-inventor of the x-ray microscope{{[6]}} and author of one of the most widely used physics textbooks{{[7].}} in the U.S.). The Baez family converted to Quakerism during Joan's early childhood.

Her mother, Joan Bridge Baez (often referred to as Joan Senior or "Big Joan" because of sharing her daughter's first name), was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the second daughter of an Episcopal priest. Joan Senior and Albert met at a high-school dance in Madison, New Jersey, and quickly fell in love. After their marriage, the newlyweds moved to California.

Baez had two sisters — older sister Pauline and younger sister Mimi (1945-2001).

Pauline married artist Brice Marden in 1960; they divorced a few years later. Their son is musician Nick Marden. Pauline later remarried and has a daughter, Pearl Bryan.

Mimi became a singer, guitarist, activist, and the founder of the organization Bread and Roses.[8] She first married singer/songwriter Richard Fariña, who was killed in a motorcycle crash on Mimi's 21st birthday — shortly after publishing his only novel. Mimi and Richard were best known for their song "Pack up Your Sorrows". In 1968, Mimi married Milan Melvin at the Big Sur Folk Festival at Big Sur, California. Baez wrote the song "Sweet Sir Galahad" about their courtship. Mimi (Fariña) died of neuroendocrine cancer, at her home in California, on July 18, 2001, at age 56.

Baez has one son, percussionist Gabriel Harris, and is a grandmother to Jasmine, the daughter of Gabriel and his wife, Pamela. Her cousin, Peter Baez, was a medical marijuana activist.[9] Another cousin, John C. Baez, is a mathematical physicist.

She is a resident of Woodside, California, and lives with her mother in a house that has a backyard tree house in which she spends a good deal of time meditating, writing, and "being close to nature."[10]

Early life

Because of her father's work in health care and with UNESCO, the family moved many times, living in towns across the U.S., as well as in England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Canada and the Middle East, including Iraq, where they stayed in 1951. She later became involved with a variety of social causes early in her career, including civil rights and non-violence.[11] Social justice, she stated in the PBS series American Masters, is the true core of her life, looming larger than music.'[12]

Music career

Early years

A friend of her father gave her a ukulele. She learned four chords, which enabled her to play rhythm and blues songs, the music she was listening to at the time. Her parents, however, were fearful that the music would lead her into a life of drug addiction.[13] At her aunt's behest, Baez at age eight attended a concert by folk musician Pete Seeger, and found herself strongly attracted to his music.[13] She soon began practicing the songs of his repertoire and performing them publicly. One of her very earliest public performances was at a retreat in Saratoga, California, for a youth group from Temple Beth Jacob, a Redwood City, California, congregation. A short 8mm film of this has recently been found. In 1957, Baez bought her first Gibson guitar for US$50.

The college music scene in Massachusetts

In 1958, her father accepted a faculty position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and moved his family to Belmont, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. The area was at the time the center of the up-and-coming folk-music scene, and Baez began busking locally in Boston and nearby Cambridge, also performing in clubs, and attending Boston University (from which she later dropped out). In 1958, at the Club 47 in Cambridge (which would later become her most-noted venue), she gave her first concert. When designing the poster for the performance, Baez considered changing her performing name to either Rachel Sandperl (Sandperl is the surname of her high-school teacher and long-time mentor, the pacifist scholar Ira Sandperl) or Mariah (from the song "They Call the Wind Mariah" popularized by The Kingston Trio.) She later opted against it, fearing that people would accuse her of changing her last name because it was Spanish. The audience consisted of her parents, her sister Mimi, and a small group of friends—a grand total of eight patrons. She was paid ten dollars. Baez was later asked back and began performing twice a week for US$20 per show.

A few months later, Baez and two other folk enthusiasts made plans to record an album in the cellar of a friend's house. The three sang solos and duets, a family friend designed the album cover, and it was released (on Veritas Records) that same year as Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square. Baez later met Bob Gibson and the reigning queen of folk music, Odetta, whom Baez cites as a primary influence alongside Marian Anderson and Seeger. Gibson invited Baez to perform alongside him at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, where the two sang two duets, "Virgin Mary Had One Son" and "We Are Crossing Jordan River". The performance generated substantial praise for the "barefoot Madonna" with the otherworldly voice, and it was this appearance that led to Baez signing with Vanguard Records the following year (although not before the more-established label, Columbia Records tried to sign her).[14] Baez later claimed that she felt she would be given more artistic license at a more "low key" label.

First albums and 1960s breakthrough

Her true professional career began at that 1959 Newport Folk Festival; she recorded her first album for a major label (Vanguard), Joan Baez (1960), produced by Fred Hellerman (of The Weavers), who produced many albums by folk artists. The collection of traditional folk ballads, blues and laments sung to her own guitar accompaniment sold moderately well. It featured many popular Child Ballads of the day, such as "Mary Hamilton" and was recorded in only four days in the ballroom of New York City, New York,'s Manhattan Towers Hotel. The album also included "El Preso Numero Nueve", a song sung entirely in Spanish. That same song later appeared on her Spanish-language album, Gracias a la Vida (1974).

Her second release, Joan Baez, Vol. 2 (1961) went "gold", as did Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1 (1962) and Joan Baez in Concert, Part 2 (1963). Like its immediate predecessor, Joan Baez, Vol. 2 contained strictly traditional material. Her two albums of live material, Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1 and its second counterpart, were unique in that, unlike most live albums, they contained only new songs, rather than established favorites. It was Joan Baez in Concert, Part 2 that features Baez's first-ever Dylan cover. From the early to mid-1960s, Baez emerged at the forefront of the American roots revival, where she introduced her audiences to the then-unknown Dylan (the two became romantically involved in late 1962, remaining together through early 1965), and was emulated by artists such as Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt.

Pack up Your Sorrows, French single, 1966

Though primarily an albums artist, several of Baez' singles have charted, the first being her 1965 cover of Phil Ochs' "There but for Fortune", which became a mid-level chart hit in the U.S. and a top-ten single in the United Kingdom. Baez added other instruments to her recordings on Farewell, Angelina (1965), which features several Dylan songs interspersed with more traditional fare. Deciding to experiment after having exhausted the folksinger-with-guitar format, Baez turned to Peter Schickele, a classical-music composer, who provided classical orchestration for her next three albums: Noël (1966), Joan (1967) and Baptism: A Journey Through Our Time (1968). Noël was a Christmas album of traditional material, while Baptism was akin to a concept album, featuring Baez reading and singing poems written by celebrated poets such as James Joyce, Federico García Lorca and Walt Whitman.

In 1968, Baez traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, where a marathon recording session resulted in not one, but two albums. The first, Any Day Now (1968), consists exclusively of Dylan covers (one, "Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word," was never recorded by Dylan and has become a Baez staple). The other, the country-music-infused David's Album (1969) was recorded for husband David Harris, a prominent anti-Vietnam War protester and organizer eventually imprisoned for draft resistance. Harris, a country-music fan, turned Baez toward more complex country-rock influences beginning with David's Album. (See David Harris section below.)

In 1968, she published her first memoir, Daybreak (by Dial Press).

In 1969, her appearance at Woodstock in upstate New York afforded her an international musical and political podium, particularly upon the successful release of the documentary film Woodstock (1970).

Beginning in the late 1960s, Baez began writing many of her own songs, beginning with "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "A Song For David" (the latter written after her husband was imprisoned for draft evasion).

The 1970s and the end of the Vanguard years

After eleven years with Vanguard, Baez decided in 1971 to cut ties with the label that had released her albums since her first in 1960. She delivered them one last success with the gold-selling album Blessed Are... (1971) which spawned a top-ten hit in Robbie Robertson's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", her cover of The Band's signature song. With Come from the Shadows (1972), Baez switched to A&M Records, where she remained for four years and six albums.

During this period, in late 1971, she reunited with Schickele to record two tracks ("Rejoice in the Sun" and "Silent Running") for the science-fiction film, Silent Running (1972). The two songs were issued as a single on Decca (32890). In addition, an LP record (LP-81072) was released on Decca DL7-9188, and was later reissued by Varese Sarabande on green vinyl. In 1998 a limited release on CD by the "Valley Forge Record Groupe" included an additional track with the spoken introduction "God Bless These Gardens". This CD can still be found for sale today.

Where Are You Now, My Son? (1973) featured a 23-minute title song which took up all of the B-side of the album. Half spoken-word poem and half tape-recorded sounds, the song documented Baez's visit to Hanoi, North Vietnam, in December 1972, during which she and her traveling companions survived a week-long bombing campaign. (See Vietnam war in Civil rights section below.)"'

Gracias a la Vida (1974) (the title song written and first performed by Chilean folk singer Violeta Parra) followed and was a success in both the U.S. and Latin America. It included the song "Cucurrucucu paloma". Flirting with mainstream pop music as well as writing her own songs for Diamonds & Rust (1975), the album became the highest selling of Baez's career and spawned a second top-ten single in the form of the title track, a nostalgic piece about her ill-fated relationship with Dylan.

After Gulf Winds (1976), an album of entirely self-composed songs, and From Every Stage (1976), a live album that had Baez performing songs "from every stage" of her career, Baez again parted ways with a record label when she moved to CBS Records for Blowin' Away (1977) and Honest Lullaby (1979).

The 1980s and 1990s

In 1980, Baez was given honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees by Antioch University and Rutgers University for her political activism and the "universality of her music".

In 1983, she appeared on the Grammy Awards for the first time, performing Dylan's anthemic "Blowin' in the Wind", a song she first performed twenty years earlier.

Baez also played a significant role in the 1985 Live Aid concert for African famine relief, opening the U.S. segment of the show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has toured on behalf of many other causes, including Amnesty International's 1986 A Conspiracy of Hope tour and a guest spot on their subsequent Human Rights Now! tour.

Baez found herself without an American label for the release of Live Europe 83 (1984), which was released in Europe and Canada, but not released commercially in the U.S.. She did not have an American release until Recently (1987) on Gold Castle Records.

Also in 1987, Baez's second autobiography And a Voice to Sing With was published and became a New York Times bestseller. That same year, she traveled to the Middle East to visit with and sing songs of peace for the people of Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.

In May 1989, Baez performed at a music festival in communist Czechoslovakia, called Bratislavská lýra. While there, she met future Czechoslovakian president Václav Havel, whom she let carry her guitar so as to prevent his arrest by government agents. During her performance, she greeted members of Charter 77, a dissident human-rights group, which resulted in her microphone being shut off abruptly. Baez then proceeded to sing a cappella for the nearly four thousand gathered. Havel cited her as a great inspiration and influence in that country's Velvet Revolution, the bloodless revolution in which the Soviet-dominated communist government there was overthrown.

Baez recorded two more albums with Gold Castle, Speaking of Dreams, (1989) and Brothers in Arms (1991). She then landed a contract with a major label, Virgin Records, recording Play Me Backwards (1992) for Virgin shortly before the company was purchased by EMI. She then switched to Guardian, with whom she produced a live album, Ring Them Bells (1995), and a studio album, Gone from Danger (1997).

In 1993, at the invitation of Refugees International and sponsored by the Soros Foundation, she traveled to the war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina region of then-Yugoslavia in an effort to help bring more attention to the suffering there. She was the first major artist to perform in Sarajevo since the outbreak of the Yugoslav civil war.

In October of that year, Baez became the first major artist to perform in a professional concert presentation on Alcatraz Island (a former U.S. federal prison) in San Francisco, California, in a benefit for her sister Mimi's Bread and Roses organization. She later returned for another concert in 1996.

2000 to present

2001-2005

Joan Baez, Bowery Songs, Koch Entertainment, 2005

In August 2001, Vanguard began re-releasing Baez's first 13 albums, which she recorded for the label between 1960 and 1971. The reissues, being released through Vanguard's Original Master Series, feature digitally restored sound, unreleased bonus songs, new and original artwork, and new liner-note essays written by Arthur Levy. Likewise, her six A&M albums were reissued in 2003.

Beginning in 2001, Baez has had several successful long-term engagements as a lead character at San Francisco's Teatro ZinZanni.[15]

In 2003, Baez was also a judge for the third annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.[16]

Her album, Dark Chords on a Big Guitar (2003), features songs by composers half her age, while a November 2004 performance at New York City's Bowery Ballroom was recorded for a live release, Bowery Songs (2005).

On October 1, 2005, she performed at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

2006

On January 13, 2006, Baez performed at the funeral of Lou Rawls, where she led Jesse Jackson, Sr., Wonder, and others in the singing of "Amazing Grace".

On June 6, 2006, Baez joined Bruce Springsteen on stage at his San Francisco concert, where the two performed the rolling anthem "Pay Me My Money Down".

In September 2006, Baez contributed a live, retooled version of her classic song "Sweet Sir Galahad" to a Starbucks's exclusive XM Artist Confidential album. In the new version, she changed the lyric "here's to the dawn of their days" to "here's to the dawn of her days," as a tribute to her late sister Mimi, about whom Baez wrote the song in 1969.

On October 8, 2006, she appeared as a special surprise guest at the opening ceremony of the Forum 2000 international conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Her performance was kept secret from former Czech Republic President Havel until the moment she appeared on stage. Havel remains a great admirer of both Baez and her work. During Baez's next visit to Prague, in April 2007, the two met again when she performed in front of a sell-out house at Prague's Lucerna Hall, a building erected by Havel's grandfather.

On December 2, 2006, she made a guest appearance at the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir's Christmas Concert at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California. Her participation included versions of "Let Us Break Bread Together" and "Amazing Grace". She also joined the choir in the finale of "O Holy Night".

2007

In February 2007, Proper Records reissued her live album Ring Them Bells (1995), which featured duets with songstresses ranging from Dar Williams and Mimi Fariña to the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter. The reissue features a 16-page booklet and six unreleased live tracks from the original recording sessions, including "Love Song to a Stranger", "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "Geordie", "Gracias a la Vida", "The Water Is Wide" and "Stones in the Road", bringing the total tracklisting to 21 songs (on two discs).

In addition, Baez recorded a duet of "Jim Crow" with John Mellencamp which appears on his album Freedom's Road (2007). He has called the album a "Woody Guthrie rock album". The recording was heavily influenced by albums from the 1960s, which is why he invited an icon from that era to appear with him.

Also in February 2007, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The day after receiving the honor, she appeared at the Grammy Awards ceremony and introduced a performance by the Dixie Chicks.

2008

September 9, 2008 saw the release of the studio album, Day After Tomorrow, produced by Steve Earle and featuring three of his songs.[17]

On June 29, 2008, Baez played out the final set on the Acoustic Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in Glastonbury, U.K., to a packed audience.[18]

On July 6, 2008, she played at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. During the concert's finale, she spontaneously danced on stage with a band of African percussionists.[19]

2009

On August 2, 2009, Joan Baez played at the 50th Newport Folk Festival, which also marked the 50th anniversary of her breakthrough performance at the first festival.[20]

On October 14, 2009, PBS aired an episode of its documentary series, American Masters, entitled, Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound. It was produced and directed by Mary Wharton. A DVD and CD of the sound track were released at the same time.[21]

Social and political involvement

1950s

In 1956, Baez first heard a young Martin Luther King, Jr. speak about nonviolence, civil rights and social change, the speech brought tears to her eyes. Several years later, the two became friends, later marching and demonstrating together on numerous occasions.

In 1957, at age 16, Joan committed her first act of civil disobedience by refusing to leave her Palo Alto High School classroom in Palo Alto, California for an air-raid drill. After the bells rang, students were to leave the school, make their way to their home air-raid shelters, and pretend they were surviving an atomic blast. Protesting what she believed to be misleading government propaganda, Baez refused to leave her seat when instructed and continued reading a book. For this act she was punished by school officials, and was ostracized by the local population for being a supposed "Communist infiltrator."Template:She describes all this in the chapter "My Memory's Eye" in her book, 'And a Voice to Sing With'

Civil Rights

The early years of Joan Baez's career saw the civil-rights movement in the U.S. become a prominent issue.

Her performance of "We Shall Overcome", the civil-rights anthem written and popularized by Seeger, at King's 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom permanently linked her to the song.

Her recording of the song "Birmingham Sunday" (1964) (written by her brother-in-law, Richard Fariña) was used in the opening of 4 Little Girls (1997), Spike Lee's documentary film about the four young victims killed in the 1963 bombing, in Birmingham, Alabama, of an African-American church by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Baez joined King on his 1965 march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, singing for the marchers in the town of St. Jude, Alabama, as they camped the night before arriving in Montgomery.

She linked arms with King to protect African-American schoolchildren in Grenada, Mississippi who were trying to attend "white" schools.

Baez again sang "We Shall Overcome" in Sproul Plaza during the mid-1960s Free Speech Movement demonstrations at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, and at many other rallies and protests.

In 1966, she stood in the fields alongside César Chávez and California's migrant farm workers as they fought for fair wages and safe working conditions and performed at a benefit on behalf of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union in December of that year. In 1972, she was at Chávez's side during his 24-day fast to draw attention to the farmworkers' struggle and can be seen singing "We Shall Overcome" during that fast in the film about the UFW, "Si Se Puede" ("It can be done").]</ref> for blocking the entrance of the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, California, she spent over a month in jail. (See also David Harris section below.)

She was a frequent participant in anti-war marches and rallies, including:

and many others, culminating in Ochs's The War is Over celebration in New York City in May 1975.[24]

During the Christmas season 1972, she joined a peace delegation (which also included prominent human-rights attorney Telford Taylor) traveling to North Vietnam, both to address human rights in the region, as well as to deliver Christmas mail to American prisoners of war. During her time there, she was caught in the U.S. military's "Christmas bombing" of Hanoi, North Vietnam, during which the city was bombed for eleven straight days.

She also devoted a substantial amount of her time in the early 1970s to helping establish a U.S. branch of Amnesty International.

Her disquiet at the human-rights violations of communist Vietnam made her increasingly critical of its government and she organized the May 30, 1979, publication, of a full-page advertisement (published in four major U.S. newspapers)[25] in which the communists were described as having created a nightmare, which put her at odds with a large segment of the U.S. left wing, who were uncomfortable criticizing a leftist régime. In a letter of response, Jane Fonda said she was unable to substantiate the "claims" Baez made regarding the atrocities being committed by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge.

Human rights

Her experiences regarding Vietnam's human-rights violations ultimately led Baez to found her own human-rights group, Humanitas International, whose focus was to target oppression wherever it occurred, criticizing right- and left-wing régimes equally.

She toured Chile, Brazil and Argentina in 1981, but was prevented from performing in any of the three countries, for fear her criticism of their human-rights practices would reach mass audiences if she were given a podium. While there, she was surveiled and subjected to death threats. (A film of the ill-fated tour, There but for Fortune, was shown on PBS in 1982.)

In a second trip to Southeast Asia, Baez assisted in an effort to take food and medicine into the western regions of Cambodia, and participated in a United Nations Humanitarian Conference on Kampuchea (Cambodia).

On July 17, 2006, Baez received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Legal Community Against Violence. At the annual dinner event they honored her for her lifetime of work against violence of all kinds.

Gay and lesbian rights

Baez has also been prominent in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights. In 1978, she performed at several benefit concerts to defeat Proposition 6 ("the Briggs Initiative"), which proposed banning all gay people from teaching in the public schools of California. Later that same year, she participated in memorial marches for the assassinated San Francisco city supervisor, Harvey Milk who was openly gay.

In the 1990s, she appeared with her friend Janis Ian at a benefit for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a gay lobbying organization, and performed at the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride March.

Her song "Altar Boy and the Thief" from Blowin' Away (1977) was written as a dedication to her gay fanbase.

Environmental causes

On Earth Day 1998, Baez and her friend Raitt were hoisted by a giant crane to the top of a redwood tree to visit environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill,[26] who had camped out in the ancient tree in order to protect it from loggers.

War in Iraq

In early 2003, Baez performed at two rallies of hundreds of thousands of people in San Francisco protesting the U.S. invasion of Iraq (as she had earlier done before smaller crowds in 1991 to protest the Persian Gulf War).

In August 2003, she was invited by Emmylou Harris (who also credits her as a primary influence) and Earle to join them in London, U.K., at the Concert For a Landmine-Free World.

In the summer of 2004, she joined Michael Moore's "Slacker Uprising Tour" on American college campuses, encouraging young people to get out and vote for peace candidates in the upcoming national election.

In August 2005, Baez appeared at the Texas anti-war protest that had been started by Cindy Sheehan.

The following month, she sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Amazing Grace" at the Temple in Black Rock City during the annual Burning Man festival as part of a tribute to New Orleans, Louisiana, and the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and during that month she also performed several songs at the Operation Ceasefire rally[27] against the Iraq War in Washington, DC.

Opposing the death penalty

In December 2005, Baez appeared and sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" at the California protest at the San Quentin State Prison against the execution of Tookie Williams.[28] She had previously performed the same song at San Quentin at the 1992 vigil protesting the execution of Robert Alton Harris, the first man to be executed in California after the death penalty was reinstated.

Poverty

On May 23, 2006, Baez once again joined Julia "Butterfly" Hill, this time in a "tree sit" in a giant tree on the site of the South Central Farm in a poor neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles, California. Baez and Hill were hoisted into the tree, where they remained overnight. The women, in addition to many other activists and celebrities, were protesting the imminent eviction of the community farmers and demolition of the site, which is the largest urban farm in the state. Because many of the South Central Farmers are immigrants from Central America, Baez sang several songs from her 1974 Spanish-language album, Gracias a la Vida, including the title track and "No Nos Moverán" ("We Shall Not Be Moved").

2008 Presidential election

Throughout most of her career, Baez remained apprehensive about involving herself in party politics. However, on February 3, 2008, Baez wrote a letter to the editor at the San Francisco Chronicle endorsing Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. She noted: "Through all those years, I chose not to engage in party politics.... At this time, however, changing that posture feels like the responsible thing to do. If anyone can navigate the contaminated waters of Washington, lift up the poor, and appeal to the rich to share their wealth, it is Sen. Barack Obama."[29]

Playing at the Glastonbury Festival in June, Baez said during the introduction of a song that one reason she likes Obama is because he reminds her of another old friend of hers: Martin Luther King, Jr.[30]

Although a highly political figure throughout most of her career, Baez had never publicly endorsed a major political party candidate prior to Obama.

Iran's people

On June 25, 2009, Joan Baez made a special version of "We Shall Overcome" with a few lines of Persian (Farsi) lyrics in support of peaceful protests by Iranian people. She recorded it in her house, and posted the video on YouTube[31] and also in her personal website.

Personal life

Early relationships

Baez's first real boyfriend — and first lover — was a young man, Michael New, whom she met at college. Years later in 1979, he inspired her song "Michael". New was a fellow student from Trinidad, West Indies, who, like Baez, attended classes only occasionally. The two spent a considerable amount of time together, but Baez was unable to balance her blossoming career and her relationship. The two bickered and made up repeatedly, but it was apparent to Baez that New was beginning to resent her success and newfound local celebrity. One night she saw him kissing another woman on a street corner. The relationship remained intact for several years, long after the two moved to California together in 1960.

Bob Dylan

Joan Baez with Bob Dylan, August 1963.

Baez first met Dylan in 1961 at Gerde's Folk City in New York City's Greenwich Village. At the time, Baez had already released her début album and her popularity as the emerging "Queen of Folk" was on the rise. Baez was initially unimpressed with the "urban hillbilly," but was impressed with one of Dylan's first compositions, "Song to Woody," and remarked that she would like to record it (although she never did).

At the start, Dylan was more interested in Baez's younger sister, Mimi, but under the glare of media scrutiny that began to surround Baez and Dylan, their relationship began to develop into something more.

By 1963, Baez had already released three albums, two of which had been certified "gold," and she invited Dylan on stage to perform alongside her at the Newport Folk Festival. The two performed the Dylan composition "With God on Our Side," a performance that set the stage for many more duets like it in the months and years to come. Typically while on tour, Baez would invite Dylan to sing on stage partly by himself and partly with her, much to the chagrin of her fans.

Before meeting Dylan, Baez's topical songs were few and far between: "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream," "We Shall Overcome," and an assortment of negro spirituals. Baez would later say that Dylan's songs seemed to update the topics of protest and justice.

By the time of Dylan's 1965 tour of the U.K., their relationship had slowly begun to fizzle out after they had been romantically involved off and on for nearly two years. The tour and simultaneous disintegration of their relationship was documented in D.A. Pennebaker's documentary film Dont Look Back (1967).

Joan Baez in 1963.

Baez toured with Dylan as a performer on his Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975-76. She sang four songs with Dylan on the live album of the tour, The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue, released in 2002. Baez appeared with Dylan in the one hour TV special, Hard Rain, filmed at Fort Collins, Colorado, in May 1976. Baez also starred as the 'The Woman In White' in the film Renaldo and Clara (1978), directed by Bob Dylan and filmed during the Rolling Thunder Revue.

Dylan and Baez (plus Carlos Santana) toured together again in 1984.

Baez discussed her relationship with Dylan in Martin Scorsese's documentary film No Direction Home (2005), and in the PBS American Masters biography of Baez, How Sweet the Sound (2009).

Baez penned at least two songs about Dylan. In "To Bobby", written in 1972, she urged Dylan to return to political activism, while in "Diamonds & Rust," the title track from her 1975 album, she revisited her feelings for him in warm, yet direct terms.[32]

References to Baez in Dylan's songs are far less clear. Baez herself has suggested that she was the subject of both "Visions of Johanna" and "Mama, You Been on My Mind," although the latter was more likely about his relationship with Suze Rotolo.[33][34] As for "Visions of Johanna," "She Belongs to Me" and other songs alleged to have been written about Baez, neither Dylan nor biographers such as Clinton Heylin and Michael Gray have had anything definitive to say one way or the other regarding the subject of these songs.

David Harris

Joan Baez's 1975 bestseller Diamonds & Rust.

In October 1967, Baez, her mother, and nearly seventy other women were arrested at the Oakland, California, Armed Forces Induction Center for blocking the doorways of the building to prevent entrance by young inductees, and in support of young men who refused military induction. They were incarcerated in the Santa Rita Jail, and it was here that Baez met David Harris, who was kept on the men's side but who still managed to visit with Baez regularly.

The two formed a close bond upon their release and Baez moved into his draft-resistance commune in the hills above Stanford, California. The pair had only known each other for three months when they decided to wed. After confirming the news to The Associated Press, media outlets began dedicating ample press to the impending nuptials (at one point, Time magazine referred to it as the "Wedding of the Century".)

After finding a pacifist preacher, a church outfitted with peace signs and perfecting a blend of Episcopalian and Quaker wedding vows, Baez and Harris married in New York City on March 26, 1968. Her good friend Judy Collins sang at the ceremony.

After the wedding, Joan Baez-Harris and her husband moved into a home in the Los Altos Hills on 10 acres (four hectares) of land called Struggle Mountain, part of a commune, where they tended gardens and were strict vegetarians.

A short time later, Harris refused induction to the armed forces and was indicted. On July 16, 1969, a patrol car came rumbling up to Struggle Mountain and carried Harris away, leaving Baez alone — and pregnant. She was very visibly pregnant in public in the months that followed, most notably at Woodstock Festival, where she performed a handful of songs in the early morning.

“Carry It On” a documentary film was produced during this time by The New Film Company, Inc. and had a theatrical release in 1970. The film gives a unique behind-the-scenes view of Harris’s arrest and of Baez in intimate and personal moments on her subsequent tour.

Among the Baez compositions written about this strained time of her life are "A Song For David", "Myths", "Prison Trilogy (Billy Rose)" and "Fifteen Months" (the amount of time Harris was imprisoned.)

Their son, Gabriel Harris, was born in December 1969.

Harris was released from his Texas prison, but the relationship began to dissolve amicably and the couple divorced in 1973. They shared custody of Gabriel, who primarily lived with his mother.[35] The split was due in large part to her belief that she expressed this way in her autobiography: "I am made to live alone." [36] She has never remarried.

Later-life relationships

She dated Apple Computer cofounder Steve Jobs during the late 1970s and early 1980s. A number of sources (including biographer Jeffrey Young) have stated that Jobs had considered asking Baez to marry him, except that her age at the time (early 40s) made the possibility of their having children unlikely.[37] Baez mentioned Jobs in the acknowledgments in her 1987 memoir And a Voice to Sing With.

Baez was also romantically linked with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead for a time during the 1980s.[38]

Popular culture

  • In the film Forrest Gump (1994), Jenny reveals that she wants "to be a famous folksinger. Like Joan Baez." A Baez tour poster can be seen above her dorm-room bed in the same scene. A live Baez version of "Blowin' in the Wind" is featured on the film's soundtrack.
  • In the Vietnam War-era drama film Dogfight (1991), a copy of Baez's début album can be seen on the protagonist's nightstand beside her bed. Baez's recording "Silver Dagger", appearing on the film's soundtrack, plays during a pivotal scene in the film.
  • In the film Eulogy (2004), Hank Azaria's character gets high while Baez's song "Diamonds & Rust" plays. The song also appears on the film's soundtrack.
  • "Here's To You" (music by Ennio Morricone, lyrics by Baez), a song Baez originally performed for the Italian film Sacco e Vanzetti (1971), became a hymn for the 1960s and 1970s civil-rights movement. It also appears on the movie soundtrack for the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). The song is also played over the credits of the quasi-documentary film Deutschland im Herbst (1977) and was just recently used in the video game: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
  • Cartoonist Al Capp, creator of the comic strip Li'l Abner, expressed his right-wing views during the 1960s by satirizing Baez as a folk singer he called "Joanie Phoanie". Joanie was an unabashed communist radical who sang songs of class warfare – while hypocritically traveling in a limousine and charging outrageous performance fees to impoverished orphans. [4] Capp had this character singing bizarre songs such as "A Tale of Bagels and Bacon" and "Molotov Cocktails for Two". Although Baez was upset by the parody in 1966, she admits to being more amused in recent years. "I wish I could have laughed at this at the time", she wrote in a caption under one of the strips, reprinted in her autobiography. "Mr. Capp confused me considerably. I'm sorry he's not alive to read this, it would make him chuckle," (from And A Voice To Sing With, 1987).[39]
  • The comedy album National Lampoon's Radio Dinner (1972) includes a Baez parody, "Pull the Triggers, Niggers" (deliberately misspelled as "Pull the Tregroes" on the album's outside liner notes), performed by Baez sound-alike Diana Reed. The satiric song made specific reference to Baez's ex-boyfriend Dylan's defense of Black Panther and convicted murderer, George Jackson.
  • In a 2003 episode of the HBO series Six Feet Under, a character, after watching the film Silent Running, comments "I've always loved Joan Baez." Baez's song "Rejoice In The Sun" can be heard in the background.
  • In an episode of the 1970s television series The Partridge Family, David Cassidy's character says "One lousy sit-in and suddenly she's Joan Baez."
  • Baez has been lampooned multiple times on Saturday Night Live by comedienne Nora Dunn. One skit features a game show entitled Make Joan Baez Laugh! where a dour Baez is ushered onstage while celebrity guests try their hand at getting her to a crack a smile.
  • Her name appears under the "Special thanks" section of Michael Moore's documentary film Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004); Baez dedicated her album Dark Chords on a Big Guitar (2003) to Moore.
  • A humorous song by the punk band The Dead Milkmen, "In Praise of Sha Na Na", features the sardonic line, "I don't care about Joan Baez, 'cause Sha Na Na can wear my fez."
  • Baez was featured in the Joan Didion essay "Where the Kissing Never Stops" (1966) in Dideon's compliation Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968).
  • In the Todd Haynes Dylan biopic I'm Not There (2007), a character clearly based on her was portrayed by Julianne Moore.
  • In the television series Arrested Development, George Bluth, Sr. claims that his twin brother Oscar's song "All You Need Are Smiles" made Baez call him the shallowest man in the world.
  • In the television series Scrubs, J.D. describes one of his patients as being able to sing "like a young Joan Baez".
  • She is mentioned in Weezer's song "Heart Songs" from their 2008 self-titled album.

Discography

References

  1. ^ http://www.ecapc.org/articles/WestmoW_2003.02.23.asp ecapc.org Accessed June 26, 2007
  2. ^ Ruhlemann, William (2009-05-06). "Joan Baez". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:0ifqxql5ldte~T1. Retrieved 2009-12-13.  
  3. ^ Brown, Mick (2009-09-15). "Joan Baez interview". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/worldfolkandjazz/6173753/Joan-Baez-interview.html. Retrieved 2009-12-13.  
  4. ^ http://www.marinij.com/ci_5481711?source=rss Marinij.com
  5. ^ http://newdeal.feri.org/texts/406.htm Newdeal.feri.org Accessed May 10, 2007
  6. ^ http://www.ndt.net/abstract/ios_rt/data/v7n2a1.htm (abstract refers to Journal of X-Ray Science and Technology, ISSN: 0895-3996. Volume 8, Number 2, 1998. Pages: 90... ) http://www.hispanicphysicists.org/recognition/bioBaez/ http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v169/n4310/abs/169963b0.html
  7. ^ The New College Physics: A Spiral Approach (Hardcover). ~ Albert V. Baez (Author) ... Hardcover: 739 pages; Publisher: W.H.Freeman & Co Ltd (1st edition: July 1967) ISBN 0716703165; Library of Congress: LC Control No.: 67012180
  8. ^ http://www.breadandroses.org Bread and Roses], official website
  9. ^ San Jose Pot Club Shuts Down Assets seized — director faces 6 felony charges Saturday, May 9, 1998
  10. ^ http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/20020308baez3.asp Post-gazette.com
  11. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=p4HKHnYFOzAC&pg=PT236&lpg=PT236&dq=joan+baez+discrimination+mexican&source=bl&ots=rUQXcrOece&sig=ceRw7mmqN6PmofpbgzT1dMUoE8w&hl=en&ei=LamfSZOtHYKEsAOuv_zGCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result#PPT236,M1
  12. ^ "American Masters". 2009-10-14. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/joan-baez/how-sweet-the-sound/1185/. Retrieved 2009-12-17.  
  13. ^ a b Per Joan Baez, interviewed by Amy Goodman at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday celebration (May 3, 2009)
  14. ^ In her 1987 autobiography, And A Voice to Sing With, pp. 61-62, she describes the afternoon when she met with first Mitch Miller at Columbia, then Maynard Solomon at Vanguard.
  15. ^ Steve Winn (October 12, 2001). "Now it's Countess Baez". San Francisco Chronicle. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/10/12/DD231448.DTL.  
  16. ^ Independent Music Awards - Past Judges
  17. ^ Day After Tomorrow
  18. ^ Acoustic Stage
  19. ^ Montreux Jazz festival
  20. ^ Joan Baez at Newport 2009
  21. ^ Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound
  22. ^ Douglas Robinson (March 26, 1966). "Antiwar Protests Staged in U.S.; 15 Burn Discharge Papers Here; Hundreds Cheer at Union Square Rally Arrests Made Across the Country 5th Avenue Parade Set Today". The New York Times.   Accessed February 3, 2008.
  23. ^ B. Drummond Ayres Jr. (August 15, 1967). "30,000 in Capital at Free Concert by Joan Baez; Folk Singer Chides D.A.R., Which Protested U.S. Site". The New York Times.   Accessed February 3, 2008.
  24. ^ Paul L. Montgomery (May 12, 1975). "End-of-War Rally Brings Out 50,000; PEACE RALLY HERE BRINGS OUT 50,000". The New York Times.   Accessed February 3, 2008.
  25. ^ "Joan Baez starts protest on repression by Hanoi". The New York Times. May 30, 1979. p. A14.   Accessed February 3, 2008.
  26. ^ http://www.oocities.com/Rainforest/vines/9901/bonnie.html Geocities.com
  27. ^ http://zmagsite.zmag.org/Nov2005/gjep1105.html Zmagsite.zmag.org
  28. ^ http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2005/12/13/17899151.php Indybay.org
  29. ^ Baez, Joan (February 3, 2008). "Leader on a new journey". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/03/ED50UO8QM.DTL. Retrieved February 3, 2008.  
  30. ^ Mills, Paul (2008). "Joan Baez". Review. Glastonbury Festival. http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/glastonline2008.aspx?id=3443. Retrieved July 27, 2008.  
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^ Gray, Michael (2006). The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. London: The Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. pp. 30–31. ISBN 0-8264-6933-7.  
  33. ^ Gray p 30
  34. ^ Heylin, Clinton (2003). Behind the Shades Revisited. London: HarperEntertainment. pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-06-052569-X.  
  35. ^ James F. Clarity (March 27, 1973). "Joan Baez Sues for a Divorce". The New York Times. p. 43.  
  36. ^ Baez, Joan, 1987. And a Voice to Sing With: A Memoir. New York: Summit Books, p.160. ISBN 0-671-40062-2
  37. ^ [2]
  38. ^ [3]
  39. ^ UPI Photo/Files Jan. 11, 1967

Further reading

  • Baez, Joan. 1968. Daybreak — An Intimate Journal. New York City, New York: Dial Press.
  • Baez, Joan, 1987. And a Voice to Sing With: A Memoir. New York City, New York: Summit Books. ISBN 0-671-40062-2
  • Baez, Joan. 1988. And a Voice to Sing With: A Memoir. Century Hutchinson, London, U.K. ISBN 0-7126-1827-9
  • Fuss, Charles J., 1996. Joan Baez: A Bio-Bibliography (Bio-Bibliographies in the Performing Arts Series). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
  • Garza, Hedda, 1999. Joan Baez (Hispanics of Achievement). Chelsea House Publications.
  • Hajdu, David. 2001. Positively 4th Street. The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña And Richard Fariña. New York City, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-86547-642-X
  • Heller, Jeffrey, 1991. Joan Baez: Singer With a Cause (People of Distinction Series), Children's Press.
  • Jaeger, Markus. 2006. Joan Baez and the Issue of Vietnam. ibidem-Verlag, Austria. (book is in English)
  • Romero, Maritza, 1998. Joan Baez: Folk Singer for Peace (Great Hispanics of Our Time Series). Powerkids Books.

External links

Main links
Video links
Awards
Preceded by
Mavis Staples
First Amendment Center/AMA "Spirit of Americana" Free Speech Award
2008
Not Yet Awarded

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Joan Baez (1963)

Joan Chandos Báez (born 9 January 1941) is an American folk singer and songwriter, known for her distinctive vocal style as well as her outspoken political views.

Sourced

  • Some Vietnam veterans have told me what they did over there when they were animals. They have been giving testimony about it to the public, to juries, to judges. Some of the juries cry, and so do some of the judges.
    One Ex-Marine has a face like a Puerto Rican angel and a body count of 390. That means he and his unit killed 390 people in a variety of hideous ways, and the angel got to go count the dead bodies for the record.
    And now he and a lot of his buddies are trying to make up for what we made them do. We paid the taxes that bought the war that hired the men and dropped the fire that burned the huts and killed the people who then were the bodies that Scott counted. It's a rotten thing to brainwash someone into doing the dirty part of killing while we stay at home. It's a rotten thing to pretend the war is coming to an end when it's only taken to the air. And in 1972 if you don't fight against a rotten thing you become a part of it.
    What I'm asking you to do is take some risks. Stop paying war taxes, refuse the armed forces, organize against the air war, support the strikes and boycotts of farmers, workers and poor people, analyze the flag salute, give up the nation state, share your money, refuse to hate, be willing to work ... in short, sisters and brothers, arm up with love and come from the shadows.

Attributed

  • The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.
  • You can't decide how you're going to die. Or when. What you can decide is how you're going to live now.
  • I've never had a humble opinion. If you've got an opinion, why be humble about it?

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

File:Joan
Joan Baez in 2003

Joan Chandos Báez is an American folk singer and songwriter. She is known for her very individual vocal style. She was born January 9, 1941. She is a soprano with a three-octave vocal range and a distinctive throat vibrato. Many of her songs deal with social issues.

She is best known for her 1970s hits "Diamonds & Rust" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". She is also known for "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "Joe Hill" - songs she made famous at the 1969 Woodstock festival. She is also well known due to her relationship with Bob Dylan and her love for activism in areas such as nonviolence, civil and human rights and the environment.

She has performed for nearly fifty years and released over thirty albums. She has recorded songs in over eight languages. She is considered a folksinger although her music has changed from folk a lot after the 1960s. Her music is now a mix of everything from rock and pop to country and gospel. Baez is thought of as an interpreter of other people's work. She has done songs by The Beatles, Jackson Browne, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and many others.








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