Joan Baez


Joan Baez (New York, 1941) is a singer-songwriter, activist, and international personality, with more than fifty years of career behind her and continues to remain one of the cornerstones of the music scene worldwide.

Her artistic career began in 1959 when, after her performance at the Newport Folk Festival, she signed a contract with Vanguard Record and published her first album, Joan Baez. The album received great admiration for Baez’s vocals and ballads, a mix of folk and blues.

Her next albums, the gold-certified Joan Baez Vol.2 (1961) and Joan Baez in concert Part 1 (1962) and Part 2 (1963), in which Joan played a song by the still undiscovered Bob Dylan, preceded the success of the American singer in the international charts.

Indeed, in 1965, the song “There but for Fortune” entered the Top Ten Hits of the United Kingdom, leading Joan Baez to embrace a more acoustic sound and the style of the “folk singer with a guitar”.

Baez’s years of success coincided with those of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights struggle, themes that became so important to Joan that she began to introduce them in her musical production, making it inseparable from her political activism.

This led to Joan‘s participation in Martin Luther King’s March of Washington in 1963, where she performed the song “We Shall Overcome”.

In 1969 she took part in Woodstock Festival, the greatest event for those years’ musical scene, where she was given the nickname of “Woodstock’s Nightingale”.

In 1975 Joan Baez released Diamonds & Rust, her best-selling album. The record is a careful and amazing search for harmonies and arrangements which are different from her more familiar folk.

During the Seventies, Joan Baez expressed her activism at best: the singer engaged in the foundation of the US Office for Amnesty International, she exposed human rights violations in Vietnam and travelled to Chile, Brazil, and Argentina to speak out against tortures and disappearances, whose proofs were covered up by local Governments.

In 1983 Joan participated, for the first time, at the Grammy Awards ceremony, where she played Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, while two years later she opened the Live Aid Concert in Philadelphia (1985).

In the following years, Joan Baez engaged in several events and collaboration in support of political and pacifist causes. Her activism led her to Italy: in 1989 she performed with Francesco De Gregori and Tracy Chapman in a concert for the construction of a hospital in Armenia and, in 2008, she sang together with Vinicio Capossela in Venice during the Live for Emergency Concert.

In 2007 Joan Baez received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and she participated in the ceremony presenting the Dixie Chicks and supporting their campaign against the Iraqi war.

In 2017, after being inserted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Joan Baez announced her last tour as a celebration of her career and for the release of her last album: Whistle Down The Wind (2018). Joan Baez talks about the album, recorded in ten days in Los Angeles together with Joe Henry, as follows: « It was our will to create an album together. I find myself at my best with musicians who are as willing as I am to get involved and he has assembled a group that has done just that, creating each song from scratch ».






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