Top 21 Interesting Joan Baez Facts

1- Joan Baez, in full Joan Chandos Baez, (born January 9, 1941, Staten Island, New York, U.S.)

2- Joan was only 18 when she first performed at Newport Folk Festival

3- Joan Baez sang about freedom and civil rights everywhere, from the backs of flatbed trucks in Mississippi to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963.

4- Joan Baez was already a global star when she met Bob Dylan in 1961, and she played a big role in helping him launch his career. Later, she dated Steve Jobs– who happened to be a huge fan of Bob Dylan. She was 41, and Jobs 27.

5- Joan dedicated her first album sung entirely in Spanish to those suffering in Chile under the rule of Augusto Pinochet, a record that inspired Linda Ronstadt, later in the ‘80s, to begin recording the Spanish songs of her heritage.

6- Joan graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1958

7- Joan Baez was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, 2017

8-In 1966, Joan Baez stood in the fields alongside Cesar Chavez and migrant farm workers striking for fair wages and opposed capital punishment at San Quentin during a Christmas vigil.

9- The opening line of Baez’s memoir And a Voice to Sing With is “I was born gifted” 

10- A 2002 Democracy Now! interview with Joan Baez revealed that Dr. King visited Baez, who was imprisoned for blocking the entrance to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, at Santa Rita prison. He spent about an hour with the singer and gave an impromptu speech later to a group of demonstrators outside the prison.

11- Joan Baez wrote “The Story of Bangladesh” in 1971. This song was based on the Pakistani army crackdown on unarmed sleeping Bengali students at Dhaka University on March 25, 1971, which ignited the prolonged nine-month Bangladesh Liberation War

12- in 1980, Baez was given honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees by Antioch University and Rutgers University for her political activism and the “universality of her music”

13- Due to her father’s work in health care and with UNESCO, their family moved many times, living in towns across the U.S, as well as in England, France, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, and the Middle East, including Iraq. Joan Baez became involved with a variety of social causes early in her career, including civil rights and non-violence

14- A friend of Joan’s father gave her a ukulele. She learned four chords, which enabled her to play rhythm and blues

15- In 1978, she appeared at rallies on behalf of the nuclear freeze movement and performed at benefit concerts to defeat California’s Proposition 6 (Briggs Initiative), legislation that would have banned openly gay teachers from public schools. She also participated in the memorial march for assassinated San Francisco city supervisor, Harvey Milk, who was openly gay.

16- In 1983, she appeared on the Grammy Awards, performing Dylan’s anthemic “Blowin’ in the Wind”, a song she first performed twenty years earlier.

17- In 1993, at the invitation of Refugees International and sponsored by the Soros Foundation, she traveled to the war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina region of former-Yugoslavia in an effort to help bring more attention to the suffering there

18- On August 2, 2009, Baez played at the 50th Newport Folk Festival, which also marked the 50th anniversary of her breakthrough performance at the first festival

19- in February 2007, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

20 On April 7, 2017, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

21- In the ’80s, Saturday Night Live poked fun at her dour demeanor in a skit called “Make Joan Baez Laugh.”

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