Joan Baez is one of the most well known female folk artists of all time. Performing for over 55 years, she was one of the voices behind the 1960’s peace movement and is known for her activism in a number of worthy causes.
Joan Baez hails from New York, where she was born in 1941, but lived all over the world due to her father’s profession in the health care system. She developed a love for music of all nations and treated herself to an acoustic guitar for her 18th birthday.
Joan’s family settled in Massachusetts in 1958, just as folk music was beginning to make waves. She started playing in clubs and colleges around Boston and Cambridge, eventually making a small name for herself in that local music scene. By 1960 she was asked to perform at a major folk festival and to record an album.
It was Joan who introduced the world to a then unknown Bob Dylan after she had made become a household name in the roots revival. She also appeared on the cover of Time magazine during this time, an amazing feat for a female musician in the ‘60’s. By 1969 she had achieved worldwide acclaim after her appearance at Woodstock in upstate New York.
Joan Baez Today
In 2009, Joan returned to the stage of the first festival that she had hosted to mark her 50th anniversary as a singer and songwriter. She is still very active in music today, often seen on stage at festivals with a signature essential oil diffuser necklace and acoustic guitar. She has never strayed from her “hippy” demeanor, and is still an activist for a number of causes.
She is very active in protecting the environment, and practices environmentalism in her everyday life. The use of natural essential oils like showcased here over chemically enhanced perfumes is just one of dozens of ways she has shown the world her commitment to this cause.
Joan was also very vocal about her disapproval over America’s involvement in Iraq and was an active participant in a number of protests and rallies. This led her to a special tour in 2004 where she encouraged young people to vote for peace minded candidates. In her 55 years as an activist, the only presidential candidate she has ever openly endorsed was Barack Obama.
Joan Baez has been the voice of dozens of records and hundreds of songs over the course of her career. Yet it is not only her music that has made her a stand out in folk music. It is her continued commitment to world issues and willingness to voice her opinion that makes her such a legendary artist.