Joan Baez by Mayan Lawent -
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Joan Baez

  • Joined May 2023
  • Published Books 1

Joan Baez, born on January 9, 1941, in Staten Island, New York, is an American singer, songwriter, and activist who rose to prominence as a leading figure in the folk music revival of the 1960s. Her haunting (and remarkable) voice and unwavering commitment to social justice have made her an influential and enduring presence in the music world.



Joan Baez by Mayan Lawent -

Joan Baez’s musical journey began at an early age, as she always had a beautiful voice. As a child, she was drawn to blues, but when she was thirteen she went to a Pete Seeger concert and never looked back.

Here is a song written by Seeger and sung by Baez for Seeger. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?


Much of her music was either traditional folk songs or songs with a strong political message (and many times, both). Though her covers are great too! Here is a popular song from the Beatles:

Eleanor Rigby


And another:

Let It Be


She sang many folk songs from varying cultures. Her family was Mexican and Scottish and the music she shared reflected that interesting mix. Here is a classic Celtic folk song – Silkie.



And here is a song from her all-Spanish album Gracias a la Vida.

Llego Con Tres Heridas (I Come With Three Wounds).



While she did not write all her songs, the songs she did write are beautiful.

Sweet Sir Galahad


Here is a song of she wrote you might recognize as a rock song by Judas Priest:



I think the original version is much more moving.

Diamonds and Rust

Can you guess who this song is about?


That’s right! Bob Dylan. She was one of the first artists to introduce her audience to songs by the then-unknown, Bob Dylan. They later had a relationship, and Dylan treated Baez poorly. Here is a song he wrote, that she sings beautifully.


It Ain’t Me, Babe


Joan Baez used her platform to advocate for social justice and civil rights. She became deeply involved in the civil rights movement, performing at numerous rallies, marches, and protests. Through this, she became a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with whom she performed and marched on multiple occasions. Her rendition of “We Shall Overcome” became an anthem for the civil rights movement.



She championed (and champions, as of June, 2023 she is still with us) many different causes: anti-Vietnam War, prison reform, environmental protection, LGBTQ+ rights, and peace in general. She even visited Israel in 1979 to promote peace between Israel and Palestine. Here is a song she sang (in Hebrew!) in Caesarea:

Shir la’Shalom


Joan Baez’s impact on the music world and her tireless commitment to social justice have earned her numerous accolades and honors. She was featured in Time magazine, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.


Joan Baez has been prolific, releasing twenty-five albums (as well as fifteen Live albums) over her career. From Woodstock until now, Joan Baez has been at the heart of folk music and calls for social change. Her legacy as a musician, activist, and humanitarian continues to resonate, reminding us of the enduring power of music to effect positive change.

Joan Baez by Mayan Lawent -

On a personal note, I have a special love for Joan Baez as she was my mother’s favorite singer and I grew up listening to many of her songs as lullabies. I’ll be adding some of my favorites – just for fun!

Queen of Hearts


This is an old English ballad that tells the story of a woman pleading for her lover’s life.




This is a song about a calf being led to slaughter, originally in Yiddish (also known as “Dos Kelbl”) in a play by Aaron Zeitlin.

Donna, Donna


This song, originally from the American-Canadian rock group, The Band, is the story of the economic and social distress experienced by the protagonist, a poor white Southerner, during the last year of the American Civil War.

In recent years, ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down‘ has been the subject of controversy.

Does it glorify slavery or is it anti-war? What do you think?


A beautiful cover of House of the Rising Sun.



Here is a cover of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry‘:



And a cover of Blowin’ in the Wind


To finish off, here is a beautiful rendition of what is, arguably, the anthem of the 60’s.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

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