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Joan Baez Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (22)  | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (2)

Born in Richmond [now Staten Island], New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameJoan Chandos Baez

Mini Bio (1)

Joan Baez was the middle daughter of Albert Vinicio and Joan Bridge Baez. At age 10, her father took a job (and the family) to Baghdad, Iraq, for a year, after which they moved to Palo Alto, CA, home of Stanford University. In 1956, she bought her first guitar and heard Martin Luther King, Jr.'s lecture on nonviolence; the following year, she heard Ira Sandperl, a Gandhian scholar, who also influenced her strongly. She graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1958, failed with a demo album, and move the next year to Massachusetts where her father had taken a teaching position at MIT. She performed at Club 47, a folk music club in Cambridge, and participated in an album "Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square". The same year, she met Odetta and Bob Gibson while she was performing at Chicago's The Gate Of Horn. Bob invited her to perform July 11 at the Newport Folk Festival, which launched her fame as a folksinger. Her first album for Vanguard, "Joan Baez" (1960), was a huge success. The following year, she met Bob Dylan and released her second very successful album, followed the year later by many southern civil-rights performances and "Joan Baez in Concert" (a Grammy nominee). She launched a tax revolt as part of her protest of the Vietnam war, protested Pete Seeger's exclusion by ABC-TV, and joined in the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley and the civil rights march in Selma AL. In 1967, she spent two brief periods in jail for anti-war protests. In 1969, she gave birth to Gabriel Earl while his father, David Harris, was serving 20 months of a three year sentence for draft resistance. In 1971, her songs were featured in the films Sacco & Vanzetti (1971) (aka Sacco And Vanzetti) and "Celebration At Big Sur". A 1974 world tour included Japan, Australia, Israel, Lebanon, Tunisia and Argentina. The 1978 film Renaldo and Clara (1978) featured her performances in Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder tours. In 1980, Antioch University and Rutgers University awarded her the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for her music and her activism. Next year, PBS aired the documentary "There But For Fortune: Joan Baez in Latin America". The albums, causes and concerts continue, far too numerous to list here.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (1)

David Harris (26 March 1968 - 15 February 1974) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trivia (22)

Sister of Mimi Fariña.
Unsuccessfully sued cartoonist Al Capp for libel after parodying her as "Joanie Phoanie" in his comic strip "Li'l Abner" in 1966.
Father, Albert Vinicio Baez, is from Puebla, Mexico.
Mother, Joan Bridge, was born in Edinburgh, UK and is of English-Scottish descent.
Ranked #27 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll
Built a treehouse in a tall oak tree behind her home.
Her son makes musical instruments.
From the age of eighteen into her forties, she sought therapy to handle her intense stage fright.
Strong supporter of the Civil Rights and the anti-war movement in the 1960s and 1970s. During Christmas of 1972, she joined a peace delegation traveling to North Vietnam.
Longtime companion of Bob Dylan from 1962 to 1965.
Played a significant role in the Live Aid (1985) concert opening the US segment of the show in Philadelphia (13 July 1985).
Resides in Woodside, California.
Hunter S. Thompson once corresponded with her. His nickname for her was "Joanie".
Once lived next door to Hunter S. Thompson.
Sister-in-law of Richard Farina.
Ex-sister-in-law of Milan Melvin.
Close friend of Kris Kristofferson.
Travels by bus on a musical tour of the United States. [March 2004]
Her father, Albert V. Baez, died 20 March 2007 at a nursing home in San Mateo County, California, USA. [March 2007]
Lives with her ninety year old mother in a home Woodside, California. [March 2004]
Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
Was six months pregnant when she performed at Woodstock.

Personal Quotes (8)

You don't get to choose how you're going to die, or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now.
It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.
[interview in Time magazine, 11/23/62] Anything called a hootenanny ought to be shot on sight, but the whole country is having one. A hootenanny is to folk singing what a jam session is to jazz, and all over the U.S. there is a great reverberate twang. Guitars and banjos akimbo, folk singers inhabit smoky metropolitan crawl space; they sprawl on the floors of college rooms; near the foot of ski trails, they keep time to the wheeze and sputter of burning logs; they sing homely lyrics to the combers of the Pacific. They are everybody and anybody. A civil engineer performs in his off-hours in the folk bins of the Midwest. So do débutantes, university students, even a refugee from an Eastern girl's-school choir. Everywhere, there are bearded pop singers and clean-cut dilettantes. There are gifted amateurs and serious musicians. New York, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver and San Francisco all have shoals of tiny coffee shops, all loud with basic folk sound--a pinched and studied wail that is intended to suggest flinty hills or clumpy prairies.
On truth: Hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers.
The fact is I can't sing most of these early folk ballads any more, because I've lost that high register. When I do sing them I have to take them down a few semitones. I'm much more comfortable singing songs by Steve Earle or Natalie Merchant or Ryan Adams, where I'm in a different zone. My voice is much lower these days, and I prefer it. There's also a lot less vibrato, because the ends of the vocal cords start to calcify. You do hear some people my age who shouldn't still be singing, where the vibrato is very wide and out of control and not very attractive. I try to avoid that!
I think I wrote one spectacular song ['Diamonds and Rust'] and a bunch of A-minuses or B-s, and that's it. I think that's just how it is and that's fine.
The era in which I came on the scene was a ten-year period of exceptional talent. I mean, nobody could top Dylan; they've been trying for years. Nobody can really top John Lennon. So what what we're looking for - what people in general are looking for and longing for - are the universal songs that bring us together, and that are of really high quality. But those are hard to find. I know that the Occupy movement was looking for the right songs and they ended up singing 'We Shall Overcome' and 'Blowin' in the Wind' because the songs that the group was looking for didn't exist.
[on appearing at the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969] Woodstock? Hell, I was already pushing my luck. I'd been on the music scene for ten years and I still didn't take dope or use a backup band. But Woodstock was also me - Joan Baez, the square, six months pregnant, the wife of a draft-resister, endlessly proselytizing about the war - I had my place there. I was of the '60s, and I was already a survivor.

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