Personalities | Joan Baez | Sixties | Rock

(Guitar, vocals, b. 1941)

Of Mexican and Irish extraction, Baez was the surprise hit of 1959’s Newport Folk Festival. With her pure soprano and deft way with an acoustic six-string, she was thus well-placed to become one of North America’s leading folk music ambassadors via ongoing international tours and albums that appealed initially to an intellectual fringe. However, after the civil rights movement fused with folk songs as ‘protest’, she and Bob Dylan emerged as the genre’s Royal Couple, and she scored in the UK singles list throughout 1965 with anthemic ‘We Shall Overcome’, ‘There But For Fortune’, Dylan’s ‘It’s All Over Now Baby Blue’ and ‘Farewell Angelina’. She would wait until 1971 for her biggest global smash, a cover of The Band’s ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’. Earlier, her version of ‘What Have They Done To The Rain’ had served as a useful 1964 demo for The Searchers’ hit just as that of ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ would for Led Zeppelin’s debut album in 1968.

Styles & Forms | Sixties | Rock
Personalities | The Band | Sixties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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