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Joan Baez

Joan Chandos Báez (born January 9, 1941 in Staten Island, New York) is an American folk singer and songwriter, known for her distinctive vocal style as well as her outspoken political views. Her family was Quaker, and her father Albert Baez , a physicist, refused lucrative war industry jobs, probably influencing Joan's political activism in the American and international civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960's to the present.

Baez' professional career began at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival and she recorded her debut album, "Joan Baez", the following year on Vanguard Records. The collection of traditional folk ballads, blues and laments sung to her own guitar accompaniment sold moderately well. Her second release, Joan Baez, Vol. 2 in 1961 went gold, as did 1962's Joan Baez in Concert , parts 1 and 2. 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 Bob Dylan and was emulated by artists such as Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt.

Like Dylan, Baez was profoundly influenced by the British Invasion and began augmenting her acoustic guitar on 1965's Farewell Angelina just after Dylan began experimenting with folk-rock. Later in the decade, Baez experimented with poetry (1968's Baptism; A Journey Through Our Time ) and country music (1968's Any Day Now , an all-Dylan collection). In 1968, Baez married David Harris, a prominent anti-Vietnam War protester eventually imprisoned for draft evasion . Harris, a country music fan, turned Baez toward more complex country rock influences beginning with 1969's David's Album . That same year, Baez' appearance at the historic Woodstock music festival in upstate New York afforded her an international musical and political podium, particularly upon the successful release of the like-titled documentary film. Her 1971 cover of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band) was a top 10 hit in the US.

With 1972's Come from the Shadows , Baez switched to A&M Records, flirting with mainstream pop music as well as writing her own songs for her best-selling 1975 release Diamonds & Rust. She then switched to CBS Records briefly, but found herself without an American label for 1984's Live -Europe '83 . She didn't have an American release until 1987's Recently on Gold Castle Records, and then switched to Virgin Records for 1992's Play Me Backwards . Her latest album is 2003's Dark Chords on a Big Guitar .

She has one son, Gabriel Harris, and lives in Woodside, California.

Joan Baez is not to be confused with the mathematician John Baez, her cousin.

Baez toured with Bob Dylan during his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour .


Baez, Joan. 1988. And a Voice to Sing With: A Memoir. Century Hutchinson, London. ISBN 0-7126-1827-9

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