103 Facts About Joan Baez


Joan Chandos Baez is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and activist.


Joan Baez is generally regarded as a folk singer, but her music has diversified since the counterculture era of the 1960s and encompasses genres such as folk rock, pop, country, and gospel music.


Joan Baez began her recording career in 1960 and achieved immediate success.


Joan Baez was one of the first major artists to record the songs of Bob Dylan in the early 1960s; Baez was already an internationally celebrated artist and did much to popularize his early songwriting efforts.


Joan Baez performed fourteen songs at the 1969 Woodstock Festival and has displayed a lifelong commitment to political and social activism in the fields of nonviolence, civil rights, human rights, and the environment.


Joan Baez was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7,2017.


Joan Baez was born on Staten Island, New York, on January 9,1941.

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Joan Baez's mother, Joan Chandos Baez, referred to as Joan Senior or "Big Joan", was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the second daughter of an English Anglican priest who claimed to be descended from the Dukes of Chandos.


The Baez family converted to Quakerism during Joan's early childhood, and she has continued to identify with the tradition, particularly in her commitment to pacifism and social issues.


Joan Baez declined to play in any white student venues that were segregated, which meant that when she toured the Southern states, she would play only at black colleges.


Joan Baez became involved with a variety of social causes early in her career, including civil rights and nonviolence.


Joan Baez spent much of her formative youth living in the San Francisco Bay area, where she graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1958.


Joan Baez 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.


Presently, Joan Baez is a resident of Woodside, California, where she lived with her mother until the latter's death in 2013.


Joan Baez has said that her house has a backyard tree house in which she spends time meditating, writing, and "being close to nature".


Joan Baez remained close to her younger sister Mimi up until Mimi's death in 2001 and mentioned in the 2009 American Masters documentary that she had grown closer to her older sister Pauline in later years.


The opening line of Joan Baez's memoir And a Voice to Sing With is "I was born gifted".


Joan Baez learned four chords, which enabled her to play rhythm and blues, the music she was listening to at the time.


Joan Baez's parents were fearful that the music would lead her into a life of drug addiction.


When Joan Baez was 13, her aunt took her to a concert by folk musician Pete Seeger, and Joan Baez found herself strongly moved by his music.


Joan Baez soon began practicing the songs of his repertoire and performing them publicly.


In 1958, after Joan Baez graduated from high school, her father accepted a faculty position at MIT and moved his family from the San Francisco area to Boston, Massachusetts.


At that time, it was in the center of the up-and-coming folk-music scene, and Joan Baez began performing near home in Boston and nearby Cambridge.


Joan Baez performed in clubs and attended Boston University for about six weeks.


When designing the poster for the performance, Joan Baez considered changing her performing name to either Rachel Sandperl, the surname of her longtime mentor Ira Sandperl, or Maria from the song "They Call the Wind Maria".

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Joan Baez later opted against doing so, fearing that people would accuse her of changing her last name because it was Spanish.


Joan Baez was later asked back and began performing twice a week for $25 per show.


Joan Baez later met Bob Gibson and Odetta, who were at the time two of the most prominent vocalists singing folk and gospel music.


Joan Baez cites Odetta as a primary influence along with Marian Anderson and Pete Seeger.


Gibson invited Joan Baez to perform with 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 Joan Baez signing with Vanguard Records the following year, although Columbia Records tried to sign her first.


Joan Baez later claimed that she felt she would be given more artistic license at a more "low key" label.


Joan Baez made her New York concert debut on November 5,1960, at the 92nd Street Y and on November 11,1961, Baez played her first major New York concert at a sold-out performance at Town Hall.


Joan Baez added other instruments to her recordings on Farewell, Angelina, which features several Dylan songs interspersed with more traditional fare.


Noel was a Christmas album of traditional material, while Baptism was akin to a concept album, featuring Joan Baez reading and singing poems written by celebrated poets such as James Joyce, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Walt Whitman.


Joan Baez featured interpretations of work by then-contemporary composers, including John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Tim Hardin, Paul Simon, and Donovan.


In 1968, Joan Baez traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, where a marathon recording session resulted in two albums.


Later in 1968, Joan Baez published her first memoir, Daybreak.


Joan Baez's appeal extended far beyond the folk music audience.


Joan Baez delivered Vanguard one last success with the gold-selling album Blessed Are.


Half spoken word poem and half tape-recorded sounds, the song documented Joan Baez's visit to Hanoi, North Vietnam, in December 1972 during which she and her traveling companions survived the 11-day-long Christmas Bombings campaign over Hanoi and Haiphong.


In 1980, Joan 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".


Joan Baez played a significant role in the 1985 Live Aid concert for African famine relief, opening the US segment of the show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Joan Baez found herself without an American label for the release of Live Europe 83, which was released in Europe and Canada but not released commercially in the US She did not have an American release until the album Recently on Gold Castle Records.


In May 1989, Joan Baez performed at a music festival in communist Czechoslovakia called Bratislavska lyra.

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Joan Baez then proceeded to sing a cappella for the nearly four thousand gathered.


Joan Baez recorded two more albums with Gold Castle: Speaking of Dreams, and Brothers in Arms.


Joan Baez then landed a contract with a major label, Virgin Records, recording Play Me Backwards for Virgin shortly before the company was purchased by EMI.


Joan Baez then switched to Guardian, with whom she produced a live album, Ring Them Bells, and a studio album, Gone from Danger.


Joan Baez was the first major artist to perform in Sarajevo since the outbreak of the Yugoslav civil war.


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


On June 6,2006, Joan 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, Joan Baez contributed a live, retooled version of her classic song "Sweet Sir Galahad" to a Starbucks's exclusive XM Artist Confidential album.


Joan Baez's performance was kept secret from former Czech Republic President Havel until the moment she appeared on stage.


Joan Baez's participation included versions of "Let Us Break Bread Together" and "Amazing Grace".


Joan Baez joined the choir in the finale of "O Holy Night".


The album was Joan Baez's first charting record in nearly three decades.


On June 29,2008, Joan Baez performed on the acoustic stage at the Glastonbury Festival playing out the final set to a packed audience.


On July 28,2019, following dates across Europe, Joan Baez performed her final concert at Madrid's Teatro Real.


In January 2021, it was announced that Joan Baez would receive a 2020 Kennedy Center Honor in a ceremony that was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Several years later, the two became friends, with Joan Baez participating in many of the Civil Rights Movement demonstrations that King helped organize.


The early years of Joan Baez's career saw the Civil Rights Movement in the US become a prominent issue.


Joan 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.


Joan Baez's recording of the song "Birmingham Sunday", written by her brother-in-law, Richard Farina, was used in the opening of 4 Little Girls, Spike Lee's documentary film about the four young victims killed in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.


In 1965, Joan Baez announced that she would be opening a school to teach nonviolent protest.

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Joan Baez participated in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights.


In November 2017 as part of a release of documents from the National Archives that were supposed to relate to the assassination of John F Kennedy, a 1968 FBI report alleged that Baez was involved in the 1960s in an intimate affair with Dr Martin Luther King, an accusation described by history professor Clayborne Carson, the director of the Martin Luther King Jr.


Joan Baez was arrested twice in 1967 for blocking the entrance of the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, California, and spent over a month in jail.


Joan Baez was critical of Vietnam's government and organized the May 30,1979, publication of a full-page advertisement in which the government was described as having created a nightmare.


In 2016, Joan Baez advocated for the Innocence Project and Innocence Network.


At each concert, Joan Baez informs the audience about the organizations' efforts to exhonerate the wrongfully convicted and reform the system to prevent such incidents.


In December 2005, Joan Baez appeared and sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" at the California protest at the San Quentin State Prison against the execution of Tookie Williams.


Joan Baez 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.


Joan Baez subsequently lent her prestige to the campaign opposing the execution of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia.


Joan Baez has been prominent in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights.


On June 25,2009, Joan Baez created a special version of "We Shall Overcome" with a few lines of Persian lyrics in support of peaceful protests by Iranian people.


Joan Baez recorded it in her home and posted the video on YouTube and on her personal website.


Joan Baez dedicated the song "Joe Hill" to the people of Iran during her concert at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine on July 31,2009.


In early 2003, Joan Baez performed at two rallies of hundreds of thousands of people in San Francisco protesting the US invasion of Iraq.


On May 23,2006, Joan Baez 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.


However, on February 3,2008, Joan Baez wrote a letter to the editor at the San Francisco Chronicle endorsing Barack Obama in the 2008 US presidential election.


Joan Baez performed at the White House on February 10,2010, as part of an evening celebrating the music associated with the civil rights movement, performing "We Shall Overcome".


On November 11,2011, Joan Baez played as part of a musical concert for the protestors at Occupy Wall Street.


Joan Baez has been a strong defender of the Catalan independence movement.


On March 18,2011, Joan Baez was honored by Amnesty International at its 50th Anniversary Annual General Meeting in San Francisco.

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Joan Baez was presented with the first award in recognition of her human rights work with Amnesty International and beyond, and the inspiration she has given activists around the world.


Joan Baez was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 Grammys.


Joan Baez first met Dylan in April 1961 at Gerde's Folk City in New York City's Greenwich Village.


At the time, Joan Baez had already released her debut album and her popularity as the emerging "Queen of Folk" was on the rise.


Joan 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.


Typically, while on tour, Joan Baez would invite Dylan to sing on stage partly by himself and partly with her, much to the chagrin of her fans.


Joan Baez sang four songs with Dylan on the live album of the tour, The Bootleg Series Vol.


Joan Baez appeared with Dylan in the one-hour TV special Hard Rain, filmed at Fort Collins, Colorado, in May 1976.


Joan Baez starred as 'The Woman in White' in the film Renaldo and Clara, directed by Bob Dylan and filmed during the Rolling Thunder Revue.


Dylan and Joan Baez toured together again in 1984 along with Carlos Santana.


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


Joan Baez wrote and composed at least three songs that were specifically about Dylan.


Joan 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.


Joan Baez implied when speaking about the connection to "Diamonds and Rust" that "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" is, at least in part, a metaphor for Dylan's view of his relationship with her.


Joan Baez was visibly pregnant in public in the months that followed, most notably at the Woodstock Festival, where she performed a handful of songs in the early morning.


Joan Baez has a daughter Jasmine who sang with Joan Baez at Kidztock in 2010.


Joan Baez dated Apple Computer cofounder Steve Jobs during the early 1980s.


Joan Baez mentioned Jobs in the acknowledgments in her 1987 memoir And a Voice to Sing With and performed at the memorial for him in 2011.