kids encyclopedia robot

Joan Baez facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Joan Baez
Portrait of Joan Baez in 1961
Baez in 1961
Background information
Birth name Joan Chandos Baez
Born January 9, 1941 (1941-01-09) (age 80)
Staten Island, New York
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • activist
Years active 1958–present
Associated acts

Joan Chandos Baez (born January 9, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and activist whose contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest or social justice. Baez has performed publicly for over 60 years, releasing over 30 albums. Fluent in Spanish and English, she has also recorded songs in at least six other languages. Although regarded as a folk singer, her music has diversified since the counterculture era of the 1960s, and encompasses genres such as folk rock, pop, country and gospel music.

Joan Baez
Joan Baez

Although a songwriter herself, Baez generally interprets other composers' work, having recorded songs by Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers Band, the Beatles, Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen, Woody Guthrie, Violeta Parra, The Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and many others. On her past several albums, she has found success interpreting songs of more recent songwriters, including Ryan Adams, Josh Ritter, Steve Earle, Natalie Merchant and Joe Henry.

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.

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 fourteen 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.


Joan Baez 1966
Joan Baez 1966
Joan Baez 1973
Joan Baez 1973
  • Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square (1959)
  • Joan Baez (1960)
  • Joan Baez, Vol. 2 (1961)
  • Joan Baez in Concert (1962)
  • Joan Baez in Concert, Part 2 (1963)
  • Joan Baez/5 (1964)
  • Farewell, Angelina (1965)
  • Noël (1966)
  • Joan (1967)
  • Baptism: A Journey Through Our Time (June 1968)
  • Any Day Now (1968)
  • David's Album (1969)
  • One Day at a Time (1970)
  • Sacco & Vanzetti (1971)
  • Blessed Are... (1971)
  • Come from the Shadows (1972)
  • Where Are You Now, My Son? (1973)
  • Gracias a la Vida (1974)
  • Diamonds & Rust (1975)
  • Gulf Winds (1976)
  • Blowin' Away (1977)
  • Honest Lullaby (1979)
  • Recently (1987)
  • Speaking of Dreams (1989)
  • Diamonds & Rust in the Bullring (1989)
  • Play Me Backwards (1992)
  • No Woman No Cry (1992)
  • Gone from Danger (1997)
  • Dark Chords on a Big Guitar (2003)
  • Day After Tomorrow (2008)
  • Whistle Down the Wind (2018)

Human rights

Joan Baez (1966)
Joan Baez 1966

Baez was instrumental in founding the USA section of Amnesty International in the 1970s, and has remained an active supporter of the organization.

Baez's experiences regarding Vietnam's human-rights violations ultimately led her to found her own human-rights group in the late 1970s, Humanitas International, whose focus was to target oppression wherever it occurred, criticizing right and left-wing régimes equally.

In 1976, she was awarded the Thomas Merton Award for her ongoing activism.

She toured Chile, Brazil and Argentina in 1981, but was prevented from performing in any of the three countries, for fear her criticism of their human-rights practices would reach mass audiences if she were given a podium. While there, she was kept under surveillance and subjected to death threats. A film of the ill-fated tour, There but for Fortune: Joan Baez in Latin America, was shown on PBS in 1982.

Joan Baez (1965)
Joan Baez 1965

In 1989, after the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing, Baez wrote and released the song "China" to condemn the Chinese government for its violent and bloody crackdown on thousands of student protesters who called for establishment of democratic republicanism.

In a second trip to Southeast Asia, Baez assisted in an effort to take food and medicine into the western regions of Cambodia, and participated in a United Nations Humanitarian Conference on Kampuchea.

On July 17, 2006, Baez received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Legal Community Against Violence. At the annual dinner event, they honored her for her lifetime of work against violence of all kinds.

In 2015, Baez received the Ambassador of Conscience Award. In 2016, Baez advocated for the Innocence Project and Innocence Network.

Joan Baez Award

On March 18, 2011, Baez was honored by Amnesty International at its 50th Anniversary Annual General Meeting in San Francisco. The tribute to Baez was the inaugural event for the Amnesty International Joan Baez Award for Outstanding Inspirational Service in the Global Fight for Human Rights.

Baez was presented with the first award in recognition of her human rights work with Amnesty International and beyond, and the inspiration she has given activists around the world. In future years, the award is to be presented to an artist – music, film, sculpture, paint or other medium – who has similarly helped advance human rights.

Images for kids

kids search engine
Joan Baez Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.