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Joan Baez

The most accomplished interpretive folksinger of the 1960s, Joan Baez has influenced nearly every aspect of popular music in a career still going strong. Baez is possessed of a once-in-a-lifetime soprano, which, since the late '50s, she has put in the service of folk and pop music as well as a variety of political causes. Starting out in Boston, Baez first gained recognition at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, then cut her debut album, Joan Baez (October 1960), for Vanguard Records. It was made up of 13 traditional songs, some of them children's ballads, given near-definitive treatment. A moderate success on release, the album took off after the breakthrough of Joan Baez, Vol. 2 (September 1961), and both albums became huge hits, as did Baez's third album, Joan Baez in Concert, Pt. 1 (September 1962). Each album went gold and stayed in the bestseller charts more than two years.

From 1962 to 1964, Baez was the popular face of folk music, headlining festivals and concert tours and singing at political events, including the August 1963 March on Washington. During this period, she began to champion the work of folk songwriter Bob Dylan, and gradually her repertoire moved from traditional material toward the socially conscious work of the emerging generation of '60s artists like him. Her albums of this period were Joan Baez in Concert, Pt. 2 (November 1963) and Joan Baez 5 (October 1964), which contained her cover of Phil Ochs' "There But for Fortune," a Top Ten hit in the U.K.

Like other popular folk performers, Baez was affected by the changes in popular music wrought by the appearance of the Beatles in the U.S. in 1964 and Dylan's introduction of folk-rock in 1965, and she began to augment her simple acoustic guitar backing with other instruments, initially on Farewell, Angelina (October 1965). It was followed by a Christmas album, Noël (October 1966), and Joan (August 1967), albums on which she was accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Peter Schickele. Baez continued to experiment in the late '60s, releasing Baptism (June 1968), in which she recited poetry, and Any Day Now (December 1968), a double album of Dylan songs done with country backing, which went gold.

In March 1968, Baez had married antiwar protest leader David Harris, who was imprisoned as a draft evader. Harris was a country music fan, and Baez's turn toward country, which continued on David's Album (June 1969) and One Day at a Time (March 1970), reflected his taste. Blessed Are... (August 1971) was a gold-selling double album that spawned a gold Top Ten hit in Baez's cover of the Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." It was followed by Carry It On (December 1971), the soundtrack to a documentary about Baez and Harris. Baez switched record label affiliation to A&M Records with Come from the Shadows (May 1972), which moved her in a more pop direction. Where Are You Now, My Son? (May 1973) included sounds taped during Baez's visit to Hanoi in December 1972.

In the late '60s and early '70s, Baez moved toward pop/rock music and also began to write her own songs, culminating in the gold-selling Diamonds & Rust (April 1975), which was followed by the entirely self-written Gulf Winds (October 1976). Baez moved to the Portrait label of CBS Records with Blowin' Away (June 1977), but she left the label after Honest Lullaby (May 1979), and her next album, European Tour (1980), was released only outside the U.S. It was another seven years before she found an American record label, Gold Castle, for Recently (1987), which was followed by the live album Diamonds & Rust in the Bullring (January 1989) and Speaking of Dreams (October 1989). Baez moved to Virgin Records for Play Me Backwards (August 1992).

In 1993, Vanguard released Rare, Live & Classic, a three-CD boxed set retrospective. Ring Them Bells, a live album on which Baez was joined by musical descendants like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Indigo Girls, came out on Guardian Records in 1995. Gone from Danger, her first studio album in five years, followed in 1997, and it was another six years before the release of Dark Chords on a Big Guitar in 2003. A November 2004 concert in New York was documented on the 2005 release Bowery Songs. Baez's 24th studio album, Day After Tomorrow, produced by Steve Earle, was released on September 9, 2008, by Bobolink/Razor & Tie, followed by Sing Me Home almost exactly a year later in 2009.. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

garrickconne c t i o n
So the question is, whose side is God really on? Would it be fair to say that perhaps God cannot be on everyone's side, just as we could conclude that God really doesn't support every war, if any?
urianly
I think, in the biography above, the writer is incorrect in describing some of the material on Joan's first album as children's ballads. Several of the songs are, in fact, Child ballads -- referring to the hundreds of traditional English and Scottish ballads collected by Francis James Child.....th e subject matter of which would rarely be considered meant for children!
Saw her live in Lowell, MA., two summers ago, and she was awesome ! She had just buried her 100 year old Mom in California, and she was her care giver. She sang Swing Low Sweet Chariot, in her honor.
Saw her at UCLA a few years ago. She sang Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts". The greatest performance I have ever seen or heard
Amen garrickconne t c i o n ! !
garrickconne c t i o n
Remember that God sent His son named Jesus who was and still is the Prince of Peace.
suzan_philli p s
Her album with Chris kept me alive back in 1974 while in Italy. Cheers!
jcarle38
Well, Joan has the most wonderful voice of our times. Her politics - I was in Vietnam in 1965. Boys died - for what. Joan - you had it right and still have it. If you are a military man in that period, why would you regard that war, those dead boys, were anything more than a very bad mistake by our leaders.
smatteis10
She is just beautiful, inside and out. The most wonderful voice that God blessed her with. I idolized her as an 18 year old, and she was my inspiration to learn guitar and sing. Many more years, Joan! Blessings!
leeleemacd
Love this song, but this version just doesn't make it. She isn't singing it, more like talking it. How about the version actually o;n the Diamonds and Rust Album.
I have enjoyed both her music and her politics and I too am a military man (Vietnam vet)...
I have always enjoyed Joan's musical talent, but being I was a career military man, I never liked her politics.
My Wonderful step mom Denise and I use to sing this
The first woman artist to bring tears to my eyes over half a century ago. Nothing has changed over these many years.
A timeless artist that in my opinion would be impossible to dislike. One hundred years from now folks will still enjoy Joan's music, no doubt.
Have seen her 7 times including the magical 1967 Washington Monument concert. As I age and face life challenges I turn to Joan and the 60s to fuel forgotten hope and values not often seen in this current generation as witnessed by the latest Washington sandbox fight
YES, VICKSTER, SHE DOES!

MARK
LOVE YOU, JOAN!

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

MARK
vickster_45
Would love to see her does she still do concerts?
powder29968
Like Vietnam . . . time to let go & listen to the recordings . . . the recordings last forever . . . a 70 year old performer does not . . .
She is like the sister I never had--I grew up listening 2 her, inspired by her And all these years later @ 69 I'm still enthralled
Joan, eres tan bella como tu musica. Te amo de todo corazon. Espero poder eschucharte una vez mas. Gracias Dios por esta voz y esta mujer tan espectacular ! Hasta pronto. Siempre Sandra
awoldschool8
I love Joan Baez.
Saw her at Bethel Woods New York last night -first time _ totally awesome
Just saw her in Atlanta. Had not seen her live since Woodstock. Wow, what a run. She has blessed my life
markc394
Yes, I also see her as my muse.....my beliefs about life were most clearly shaped by Joan Baez and I look back and thank her for all the ideas about life that she shared with me---
jwatson40763
I was lucky enough to sit on a grassy knoll and play a guitar and sing with her and Ira Sandpearl at KSU in 1970. I will never forget her.. or that time..we all grow older...and we all age...and we all stay the same..I will always think of her as my muse...and my friend..
Meaningful music has always Blessed my life's path. Joan embarked me to marching To A Different Drummer in the early 60's. Her pristine voice and her messages thrill me to this day. I'm 76 now, just loaded her to Pandora and at this moment renewed to the core as I was when I first heard her.
Thanks Joan, I Still Love You!
rubeg6
Thank you Joan - Without you knowing, we have spent many enjoyable hours together since the early 60's
jbkaag
Saw Joan twice in my life. First at the Washington Monument in 1967 when the scheduled DAR concert was cancelled because she refused to eliminate several anti-war songs from her gig list. The word went out on the local rock radio stations and 100,000 people showed up at her impromptu concert that evening on the slopes of the Monument. Second, last June when she played a concert at the Community Theater in Morristown NJ. By my calculations , that's a 45 year lapse. Was she as good as 45 years
So in the minority here, I know, and no one -- NO ONE -- loves her more than I, but it's time to let go. Let her go. Saw her at Strathmore (MD) last year, and it was awful. Her range has been reduced to like 5 notes; her performance was more recitative than sung, which is perfectly fine! She's 70, for crying out loud! She was all that and more, and will forever be no one else, but she is done, and we need to let her be done. My daughter flipped out to find out that she would be at Wolf Trap (Nor
This was written by Robbie Robertson, and originally recorded by The Band.
Carter Family song I believe
shes an age peer, mentor, inspiration
cowniew
Joan Baez was One of the greatest female voices at a time when it mattered more than ever.
I grew up with my Dad playing this. I love her version of this song.
very deep thoughts
johncauer
wow
kvons1
Seems like yesterday--- - 1 / 2 lifetime ago
Yes, she is a Soprano. And perhaps the greatest voice in folk songs.
Was reading the bio, and I don't think she's a soprano... but I love her!
Still never gets better!! Wonderful memories of this beautiful songbird.
Classy and completely timeless - her music will live on with its messages of hope, love and faith.
Been listening to Joan since 1961 when my wife bought Concert 2. I became her fan forever. She still cuts it AT SEVENTY!!
Will always love her voice and persona. Too bad she had to share a stage with Kris K, earlier this year at Symphone Hall, who is not even near her league.
I finally got to see Joan this winter in Stamford Ct. her interactions with the audience led us to believe she is losing her hearing ( she asked her guitar player several times what someone had said, and she reacted inappropriat e l y a few times to audience comments, as if she hadnt really heard the comment), yet she can still sing like an angel, She also didnt bother to walk off stage and back for an encore, she stayed center stage and said something about pretending she had left and returne
sweet listening!
An angel voice amongst us !!!!!
Never forget Joan. Saw her in many concerts. Unbelievable ! !
pandorashel
FYI, in the bio where it says some of them children's ballads, that is a misinterpret a t i o n by the writer of the bio. The songs in question are Child ballads. Child ballads are songs collected by Francis James Child in the late 1800's, and are a magnificentl y documented collection.
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