Joan Chandos Baez (born January 9, 1941) is an American folk singer, songwriter and activist. Baez has a distinctive vocal style, with a strong vibrato, and her recordings have included topical songs and material dealing with social issues.
Baez began her career performing in coffeehouses in the Boston-Cambridge area, and rose to fame as an unbilled performer at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. 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, and stayed on the charts for two years.
She is well known for her hit "Diamonds & Rust" and her covers of Phil Ochs's "There but for Fortune" and The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (a top-five single on the United States charts in 1971). Other songs associated with Baez include "Farewell, Angelina" and "Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word" — along with "Joe Hill", "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "We Shall Overcome" (three of the songs she performed at the 1969 Woodstock Festival).
She helped to bring the songs of Bob Dylan to national prominence, and has displayed a lifelong commitment to political and social activism in the fields of nonviolence, civil and human rights and the environment.
"The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one."
"Nonviolence is a flop. The only bigger flop is violence."