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Joan Chandos Baez (//; born January 9, 1941) is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician, and activist whose contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest or social justice, though in at least one case it is pro-confederate social justice ("The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"). Baez has performed publicly for over 59 years, releasing over 30 albums. Fluent in Spanish and English, she has recorded songs in at least six other languages. She is regarded as a folk singer, although her music has diversified since the counterculture days of the 1960s and now encompasses everything from folk rock and pop to country and gospel music. Although a songwriter herself, Baez generally interprets other composers' work, having recorded songs by the Allman Brothers Band, the Beatles, Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen, Woody Guthrie, Violeta Parra, The Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and many others. In recent years, she has found success interpreting songs of modern songwriters such as Ryan Adams, Josh Ritter, Steve Earle and Natalie Merchant. Her recordings include many topical songs and material dealing with social issues.
She began her recording career in 1960 and achieved immediate success. Her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. 2, and Joan Baez in Concert all achieved gold record status.
Songs of acclaim include "Diamonds & Rust" and covers of Phil Ochs's "There but for Fortune" and The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". She is also known for "Farewell, Angelina", "Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word", "Forever Young","Joe Hill", "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "We Shall Overcome". She was one of the first major artists to record the songs of Bob Dylan in the early 1960s; Baez was already an internationally celebrated artist and did much to popularize his early songwriting efforts. Baez also performed three songs at the 1969 Woodstock Festival and has displayed a lifelong commitment to political and social activism in the fields of nonviolence, civil rights, human rights and the environment.
Baez was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, 2017.
Last Updated: August 21, 2017