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Joan Baez

Folksinger and Activist


Joan Baez at 1963 Civil Rights March

Joan Baez at 1963 Civil Rights March

Image courtesy of United States National Archives and Records Administration

Joan Baez Facts:

Known for: part of the 1960s folk revival; advocacy of peace and human rights
Occupation: folksinger, activist
Dates: January 9, 1941 -
Also Known as: Joan Chandos Baez

Joan Baez Biography:

Joan Baez was born in Staten Island, New York. Her father was a physicist, born in Mexico, and her mother of Scottish and English descent. She grew up in New York and California, and when her father took a faculty position in Massachusetts, she attended Boston University and began to sing in coffeehouses and small clubs. Bob Gibson invited her to attend the 1959 Newport Folk Festival where she was a hit.

Vanguard Records signed Baez and in 1960 her first album, Joan Baez, came out. Baez was known for her soprano voice, her haunting songs, and, until she cut it in 1968, her long black hair. Early in her career she performed with Bob Dylan, and they toured together in the 1970s.

Subjected to racial slurs and discrimination in her own childhood because of her Mexican heritage and features, Joan Baez became involved with a variety of social causes early in her career, including civil rights and nonviolence. She was sometimes jailed for her protests. Joan Baez married David Harris, a Vietnam draft protestor, in 1968, and he was in jail for most of the years of their marriage. They divorced in 1973, after having one child, Gabriel Earl.

In 1967, the Daughters of the American Revolution denied Joan Baez permission to perform at Constitution Hall, resonating with their famous denial of the same privilege to Marian Anderson.

Early in her career, Joan Baez stressed historical folk songs, adding political songs to her repertoire during the 1960s. Later, she added country songs and more mainstream popular music, though always including many songs with political messages. She supported such organizations as Amnesty International and Humanitas International. Joan Baez continues to speak and sing for peaceful solutions to violence in the Middle East and Latin America.

Joan Baez on this site

Joan Baez on the web

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Print Bibliography

  • The Joan Baez Songbook
  • Hajdu, David. Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina and Richard Farina. 2001/2002.
  • Swanekamp, Joan. Diamonds and Rust: A Bibliography and Discography on Joan Baez.


  • 1960: Joan Baez Vol. 1 (remastered 2001)
  • 1961: Joan Baez Vol. 2 (remastered 2001)
  • 1964: Joan Baez 5 - 2002 version with bonus tracks
  • 1965: Farewell, Angelina
  • 1967: Joan
  • 1969: Any Day Now: Songs of Bob Dylan
  • 1969: David's Album
  • 1970: The First Ten Years
  • 1971: Carry It On
  • 1972: Blessed Are...
  • 1972: Come From the Shadows
  • 1974: Gracias a la Vida (Here's to Life)
  • 1975: Diamonds and Rust
  • 1976: The Lovesong Album
  • 1977: Best of Joan Baez
  • 1979: Honest Lullaby
  • 1979: The Joan Baez Country Music Album
  • 1982: Very Early Joan Baez
  • 1984: Ballad Book Vol. 1
  • 1984: Ballad Book Vol. 2
  • 1987: Recently
  • 1990: Blowin' Away
  • 1991: Brothers in Arms
  • 1992: No Woman No Cry
  • 1992: Play Me Backwards
  • 1993: From Every Stage
  • 1993: Rare, Live and Classic (box)
  • 1995: Ring Them Bells (winter holiday and Christmas)
  • 1996: Greatest Hits (remastered)
  • 1996: Speaking of Dreams
  • 1997: Gone From Danger
  • 1998: Baez Sings Dylan
  • 1999: 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection
  • 1960: Joan Baez Vol. 1 (remastered 2001)
  • 1961: Joan Baez Vol. 2 (remastered 2001)
  • 1964: Joan Baez 5 - 2002 version with bonus tracks
  • 2003: Dark Chords on a Big Guitar
  • 2005: Bowery Songs
  • 2007: Ring Them Bells (reissue with bonus tracks)
  • 2008: Day After Tomorrow

About Joan Baez

  • Categories: folk singer, activist
  • Organizational Affiliations: Newport Folk Festival, Amnesty International
  • Places: United States
  • Period: 20th century

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