Joan Baez biography
Joan Baez was born in Staten Island, New York, on January 9, 1941. Baez first became known as a folk singer after performing at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She is known for topical songs promoting social justice, civil rights and pacifism. Baez also played a critical role in popularizing Bob Dylan, with whom she performed regularly in the mid-1960s.
Singer, songwriter and social activist Joan Baez was born on January 9, 1941, in Staten Island, New York. Baez, a singer in the folk tradition, was a crucial part of the genre's rebirth in the 1960s. She got her first guitar in 1956. Two years after her family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, Baez delved into the city's burgeoning folk scene. Soon she became a regular performer at a local club.
Commercial Success and Activism
The 1960s were a turbulent time in American history, and Baez often used her music to express her social and political views. Her self-titled first album was released in 1960 and not long after its release she met the then-unknown singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
In the early to mid-1960s, Joan Baez became an established folk artist as well as a voice for social change. She sang "We Shall Overcome" at the March on Washington in 1963 organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to supporting civil rights, Baez also participated in the antiwar movement, calling for an end to the conflict in Vietnam.
Beginning in 1964, she would refuse to pay part of her taxes to protest U.S. military spending for a decade. Baez was also arrested twice in 1967 in Oakland, California, for blocking an armed forces induction center. Near the decade's end, her autobiography, Daybreak (1968), was released.
Baez continued to be active politically and musically in the 1970s. She helped establish the west coast branch of Amnesty International, a human rights organization, and released numerous albums, including the critically acclaimed Diamonds and Rust (1975). In addition to touring, she also performed at many benefits and fundraisers for social and political causes around the world.
Her most recent studio album was 2003's Dark Chords on a Big Guitar. She followed up with a collection of live tracks in 2005 on Bowery Songs, which featured songs by Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie as well as some traditional folk songs.
Once married to David Harris, Joan Baez has a son named Gabriel from that union. She lives in California and continues to speak out for causes that are important to her.