In the five years since the conclusion of Joan Baez's "Fare Thee Well" tour in 2019, which marked the end of her active touring career, the fast-paced whirlwind of her activities away from the concert stage has kept her busier than ever, beginning with the 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honors of 2020, welcoming Joan into the fold alongside Debbie Allen, Garth Brooks, Midori, and Dick Van Dyke.
On the fateful day of January 6, 2021, three days before her 80th birthday, the second exhibition of Joan’s “Mischief Makers” portraits opened in California. “Mischief Makers 2” included portraits of Patti Smith, Michael Moore and Dr. Anthony Fauci. John Prine, Stacey Abrams and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have also been honored. Proceeds from the sales of limited edition archival pigment prints of selected “Mischief Makers” portraits have raised funds for a variety of worthy causes.
In February 2023, the long-awaited Joan Baez I Am A Noise documentary entered the festival season with its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. Directed by Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky and Maeve O’Boyle, the film was praised by the New York Times as “wistfully immersive … [the directors] make imaginative visual choices to give Baez a full cinematic dimensionality, such as animating her sometimes haunting sketches.” RogerEbert.com called it “a coherent, cohesive, and sometimes jarringly frank portrait.” In October, I Am A Noise began its exclusive theatrical run at the Film Forum in Greenwich Village.
In April 2023, fans of Joan’s lifelong affection for line sketching – who doesn’t cherish her double-Lp artwork for 1968’s Any Day Now: Songs Of Bob Dylan – welcomed the publication of Am I Pretty When I Fly?: An Album of Upside Down Drawings (Godine, Boston). Kirkus Reviews was unequivocal: “By gracefully walking a fine line between blunt-force honesty and flights of fancy, the book is satisfying, enjoyable, and rewarding.” Admirers Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner said, “These drawings elicit a stunning depth of feeling as they spin off from humor and romp through tenderness, cynicism, anger, heartbreak and – cloaked in silliness – a terrifying peek at current events… These amazing ‘feelustrations’ are revelatory not only of Joan but humanity itself.”
The "Fare Thee Well" tour, which began in March 2018 in Stockholm, concluded in Madrid in July 2019, after 134 sold out performances across the US and Europe. It was the climax of an historic ride that began in 2016, when Joan’s 75th birthday was celebrated at New York’s Beacon Theater. There she was joined by Paul Simon, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris and more than a dozen other artists. The concert premiered on the PBS Great Performances series and was issued on DVD and CD.
Joan’s April 2017 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame was well deserved. Many traditional songs that she presented on her earliest LPs in the 1960s found their way into the rock lexicon: “House Of the Rising Sun” (the Animals), “John Riley” (the Byrds), “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” (Led Zeppelin), “What Have They Done To the Rain” (the Searchers), and “Jackaroe” (Grateful Dead), to name a few. A multitude of British artists who trace their origins to Fairport Convention, Pentangle, and Steeleye Span were inspired by Joan’s versions of “Geordie,” “House Carpenter,” and “Matty Groves.”
Joan went on to focus awareness on songwriters ranging from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Richard Fariña, Leonard Cohen, and Tim Hardin, among others. Her repertoire grew to include songs by Jacques Brel, Lennon-McCartney, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash and his Nashville peers including Kris Kristofferson and Mickey Newbury, South American composers Violeta Para, Victor Jara and more. Songwriters whose work was recorded or performed by Joan grew to encompass Jackson Browne, Janis Ian, John Prine, Stevie Wonder, Steve Earle, Tom Waits, and many others, including songs written by Joan herself.
From the beginning, the life’s work of Joan Baez was mirrored in her music. At a point when it was neither safe nor fashionable, she sang about freedom and Civil Rights everywhere, from the flatbed trucks in Mississippi to the Lincoln Memorial at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington in 1963. She sang at the birth of the Free Speech movement at UC Berkeley, and co-founded the Institute For The Study Of Nonviolence near her home in Carmel Valley. She sang in fields alongside Cesar Chavez and migrant farm workers striking for fair wages, and opposed capital punishment during a Christmas vigil at San Quentin.
The soundtrack for the turbulent ’60s is heard on Joan’s remarkable, timeless Vanguard LPs. In 1968, she began a four-year recording stint in Nashville, with Music City’s famed “A-Team” backing her biggest career single, a cover of the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (1971). During this time, Joan traveled to Hanoi, and helped establish Amnesty International on the West Coast. In 1975, her self-penned “Diamonds & Rust” began its course as a beloved (and frequently covered) American standard. She co-headlined Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tours of late 1975 and ’76, as well as the resulting film, Renaldo & Clara (1978).
Continuing as a musical and social force of nature, Joan marched in Northern Ireland with the Irish Peace People in 1978, and appeared at rallies on behalf of the nuclear freeze movement. She performed at benefit concerts to defeat California legisla¬tion that would have banned openly gay people from teaching in public schools. She received the American Civil Liberties Union’s Earl Warren Award for her commitment to human and civil rights issues; and founded the Humanitas International Human Rights Commit¬¬tee, which she headed for 13 years.
She dedicated her first entirely Spanish album, Gracias a la Vida (1974) to Chileanos who suffered under the rule of Augusto Pinochet. In 1981, hostile authoritarian regimes across Latin America tried to prevent her concerts there – three decades later, her return tour of 2014 was heralded as a triumphant success.
Joan was a fixture on Amnesty International’s Conspiracy of Hope tour in 1986, with U2, Peter Gabriel, Sting and others. Her 1989 concert in Czechoslovakia was cited by president-to-be Vaclav Havel as a tipping point in the Velvet Revolution that established the Czech Republic. In 1993, Joan was invited by Refugees International to war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina. A year later she was singing to her friend and mentor Pete Seeger at the annual Kennedy Center Honors.
The Four Voices benefit concerts with Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls that took place later on in the 1990s (reprised as a full tour in 2017), reinforced Joan’s belief in the new generation of songwriters’ ability to speak to her. The 1995 live album Ring Them Bells expanded on the Four Voices format (featuring duets with Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, Janis Ian, and more). It was followed by Gone From Danger (1997), with songs from a new generation of songwriters including Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, Sinéad Lohan, and others.
Into the new millennium, Joan received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 49th annual Grammy Awards® in 2007, where she introduced the Dixie Chicks (now known as the Chicks) and saluted their courage to protest the Iraq war. She stood with old friend Nelson Mandela in London’s Hyde Park as the world celebrated his 90th birthday in 2008. Also that year came a critically acclaimed new album, the Grammy®-nominated Day After Tomorrow, produced by Steve Earle.
More in 2008: Several events commemorated the 50th anniversary (1958) of Joan’s arrival on the coffee house scene that had emerged around Club 47 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her 50th anniversary return to the Newport Folk Festival (1959) was another highlight. It was under-scored by the PBS American Masters series premiere of her life story, Joan Baez: How Sweet The Sound (May 2009). She attended the first presidential inauguration of Barack Obama that year, and returned to D.C. in 2010, for In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement, an all-star concert broadcast live from the East Room.
Joan’s landmark debut album of 1960 was honored by the National Academy of Record¬ing Arts & Sciences in 2011, which inducted it into the Grammy® Hall Of Fame; and by the Library of Congress in 2015, which selected it to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. That same year, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, Amnesty International’s highest honor was bestowed on Joan, in recognition of her exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights.
Since the turn of the century, Joan has received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 49th annual Grammy Awards® in 2007, where she introduced the Dixie Chicks and saluted their courage to protest the Iraq war. The 50th anniversary of Joan’s debut at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival was underscored by the PBS American Masters series premiere of her life story, Joan Baez: How Sweet The Sound (2009). She attended the first presidential inauguration of Barack Obama that year, and returned to Washington in 2010, for In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement, an all-star concert broadcast live from the East Room.
Joan’s landmark debut album of 1960 was honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences in 2011, who inducted it into the Grammy® Hall Of Fame; and by the Library of Congress in 2015, who selected it to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. That same year, Amnesty International’s highest honor was bestowed on Joan, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, in recognition of her exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights.
2017 ended with Joan’s first solo exhibi¬tion of “Mischief Makers” paintings in Mill Valley, ranging from Congressman John Lewis, Dr. King, and Bob Dylan, to Maya Angelou, Vaclav Havel, and the Dalai Lama – risk-taking visionaries who, like herself, helped bring social change through nonviolent action, thoughts and deeds, that her friend, the late Rep. Lewis called “good trouble.”
As the “Fare Thee Well” tour began in Stockholm (March 2018), Joan released her first new studio album in a decade, Whistle Down The Wind, produced by Joe Henry. Joan recognized some of her favorite songwriters, from Tom Waits and Mary Chapin Carpenter, to Eliza Gilkyson and Josh Ritter. The Grammy®-nominated album prompted Rolling Stone to proclaim, “The takeaway from Joan Baez’s latest is how essential her work remains.”
At the 20th annual Latin Grammys® in November 2019, Joan received the Lifetime Achievement Award. That same week, at the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame in Boston, Joan presented the Club Passim aka Club 47 Lifetime Achievement Award to the club’s longtime guiding light Betsy Siggins, a cherished friend since their time as Boston University freshmen in 1958.
In April 2020, the prestigious American Academy Of Arts & Sciences (founded in 1781), announced the election of Joan Baez to its membership, in the company of Henry David Thoreau, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison, President Jimmy Carter, and others. Joan’s recent portraits of Kamala Harris, Greta Thunberg, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Emma Gonzalez, Coretta Scott King, and a young Mahatma Gandhi reveal how deep the “Mischief Makers” river flows.
As she has done for her entire career, Joan Baez continues to support and encourage worthwhile charities and human rights causes around the world. Because she is, and always will be, very much a “Mischief Maker” in her own right.
(by Arthur Levy, February 2024)
Joan Chandos Baez is born on January 9 in Staten Island, New York, the middle daughter of physicist Dr. Albert Vinicio Baez and Joan Bridge Baez.
Joan spends a year living in Baghdad, Iraq, with her family when her father accepts a job there. Upon their return to the U.S., the family moves to California.
For the first time, Joan hears a young Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture on nonviolence and civil rights. She also buys her first guitar.
Joan commits her first act of civil disobedience by refusing to leave her high school (Palo Alto High School) during an air-raid drill. She also meets Gandhian scholar, Ira Sandperl, who becomes one of her strongest political influences.
Joan graduates from Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, California in June. She also records a demonstration album, but it fails to garner interest from record company executives and the project is shelved.
In late summer, the Baez family moves to Belmont, Massachusetts, when Joan's father accepts a teaching post at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Joan's interest in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, folk scene grows as she begins visiting the local coffeehouses. She registers as a student at Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts, but only sporadically attends classes and soon quits school to concentrate on her blossoming singing career.
Joan begins performing regularly at Club 47, a folk music club in Cambridge, where she attracts a large and devoted following. She meets Bill Wood prior to taping WHRB Harvard Radio Balladeers program, which Wood hosts. They become friends and begin performing together. With Bill and Ted Alevizos, Joan records the album Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square for Veritas Records, a local Boston record company.
At the invitation of impresario Albert Grossman, Joan appears at The Gate Of Horn nightclub in Chicago. During her two-week stint there, she meets both Bob Gibson and Odetta. Bob is impressed enough with her that he invites her to join him during his set at the Newport Folk Festival on July 11, and her unscheduled appearance makes her the talk of the Festival and establishes her as a talented and exciting new folksinger.
Joan appears at the 1960 Newport Folk Festival as a solo performer, and makes her New York City concert debut at the 92nd Street Y on November 5th. Also in November, her first album for Vanguard Recording Society, Joan Baez, is released.
Joan meets Bob Dylan at Gerde's Folk City in April of this year, following his appearance there as an opening act for John Lee Hooker. She also records and releases her second Vanguard album, Joan Baez, Volume Two, and embarks on her first national concert tour.
As Joan becomes more involved with the civil rights movement, she conducts the first of three concert tours to Southern college campuses with a strict no-discrimination policy for audiences. The album Joan Baez in Concert is released in September, and she is the subject of the November 23, 1962, TIME Magazine cover story.
Joan Baez In Concert is nominated for a Grammy Award in the "Best Folk Recording" category. Joan appears at the Monterey Folk Festival with Bob Dylan (and invites him to be a surprise guest on her summer tour) and headlines at the Newport Folk Festival.
Joan refuses to appear on and leads a much-publicized artist boycott of ABC-TV's Hootenanny show due to their banning of Pete Seeger as a result of his political activism. In August she sings "We Shall Overcome" before an estimated quarter of million people at the civil rights March on Washington.
Joan Baez In Concert, Part Two is released, and Squire Records releases an unauthorized reissue of Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square.
Joan protests U.S. involvement in Vietnam by withholding 60% of her income taxes, the amount determined used for military purposes. The Internal Revenue Service responds by placing a lien against her. She continues to withhold portions of her taxes for the next ten years. And after performing for President Johnson in Washington, she urges him to withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam. Joan also continues her civil right work by appearing at a benefit concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, protesting the state's Proposition 14 which would allow segregated housing, and she becomes involved with the Free Speech Movement at the University of California at Berkeley. As the students take over Sproul Hall, Joan instructs them to "Have love as you do this thing and it will succeed." The police wait until she departs the building before moving in and arresting 800 students.
Fantasy Records releases Joan Baez In San Francisco, an unauthorized release of the demonstration album she recorded as a teenager in 1958, and she files for an injunction to block distribution. Joan once again headlines at the Newport Folk Festival, leads a seminar on "The New Folk Music" at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and travels with the Beatles on a portion of their U.S. concert tour.
Joan Baez/5, her final album of all acoustic music, is released, and The Joan Baez Songbook is published. Containing 66 songs from her repertoire and with illustrations by Eric Von Schmidt, the book becomes a staple among guitar students and is reprinted twenty times over the next few decades.
"There But For Fortune" becomes a hit single and is nominated for a Grammy Award in the "Best Folk Recording" category. Joan does a joint U.S. concert tour with Bob Dylan, gives her first major concert outside the U.S. at London's Royal Albert Hall, and Farewell, Angelina is released.
In March, Joan participates in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and in August she participates in a demonstration outside The White House protesting U.S. involvement in Vietnam. With Ira Sanderl, she founds the Institute For The Study Of Nonviolence in Carmel Valley, California. After area residents claim the onslaught of "hippies and free-love subversives" will threaten property values, the Institute closes after one month, but re-opens without incident in December.
Joan's first three Vanguard recordings are certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and Noel is released. She also begins recording an album of contemporary popular songs produced by her brother-in-law, Richard Farina, but the project is shelved after Farina's untimely death in a motorcycle accident in late April.
While in West Germany, Joan leads an Easter Day anti-war march, and in September, she participates in a march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Grenada, Mississippi, protesting the beatings of black school children as schools were de-segregated. When Joan attempts to enroll five black children in a formerly segregated school, she is barred from entering the school. In December she both performs at a benefit for striking farm workers in California, and participates in a Christmas vigil at San Quentin Penitentiary urging the commutation of death sentences for 64 prisoners.
While performing in Japan, Joan's political comments are intentionally mistranslated. The interpreter claims, and later denies, that a CIA agent pressured him to mistranslate her political remarks. The CIA denies any involvement in the matter. Back in the U.S., on August 13, Joan is denied permission to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) due to her anti-war activities. She responds by performing in a free concert at the base of the Washington Monument before an estimated audience of 30,000. Later in the year, Joan joins 56 others in filing suit in California's Federal District Court to reclaim portions of their 1965 and 1966 income taxes on the grounds that they are conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. The suit is dismissed from court in January, 1968.
Joan headlines at the Newport Folk Festival in July. She also appears on the Women Strike For Peace benefit recording Save The Children, as well as appearing in the films Don't Look Back and Festival. Her own Joan is released by Vanguard in August.
On October 16th Joan is among over 100 people arrested for blocking the entrance to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, California. She is sentenced and serves ten days at the Santa Rita Rehabilitation Center. In December, she is again arrested with 49 other demonstrators for blocking the entrance of the same induction center. She receives a 90 day prison sentence (45 days suspended), but is abruptly released after just a month because prison officials fear an inmate uprising on her scheduled release date.
The European Exchange System reveals that the sale of Joan Baez recordings has been banned in Army PXs because of her anti-war activities. On March 26th, Joan marries draft resister and activist David Harris. They tour the country on a joint concert and lecture series advocating draft resistance. Later in the year, twenty young men spontaneously present Joan with their draft cards during her concert at the Los Angeles Forum.
Baptism, an album of poetry recited and sung, is released, Joan again appears at the Newport Folk Festival, and Any Day Now, a two-record collection of Bob Dylan songs, is released. Daybreak, a memoir penned by Joan, is published (Dial Press) and is a bestseller.
During a taping of CBS-TV's The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Joan's remarks pertaining to draft resistance are censored, prompting a pre-emption of the show. When it finally does air, her remarks are deleted from the tape, and soon thereafter, CBS cancels the controversial program.
David Harris begins serving a three-year prison term for draft resistance in July. Joan gives birth to their son, Gabriel Earl, in December, and Harris is released in 1971 after serving 20 months.
Any Day Now is nominated for a "Best Folk Recording" Grammy Award, David's Album is released, and in August Joan is a headliner at the Woodstock Festival.
Both One Day At A Time and The First Ten Years are released. Joan appears at the Isle of Wight Festival, the Big Sur Folk Festival, and the International Song Festival in Sopot, Poland. The film Carry It On, featuring Joan and David Harris is released, as is the film of Woodstock which features Joan's performance of "Joe Hill."
David Harris is released from prison on March 15th. He and Joan later separate and eventually divorce. The book Coming Out, written by Joan and David is published. Also, the soundtrack album to the film Carry It On is released.
The Chicago Business Executives Move for Vietnam Peace honor Joan with an award for her anti-war work. In October, Joan gives three sold-out concerts at University of California at Berkeley's Greek Theatre, including a benefit for the Greek Resistance attended by Melina Mercouri, Jules Dassin, and other exiled patriots.
The film Sacco And Vanzetti and its soundtrack recording are released. Both feature songs sung by Joan and written by Joan with Ennio Morricone. The film Celebration At Big Sur, comprised of highlights of the 1969 Big Sur Folk Festival and featuring several performances by Joan, is released.
Joan's own Blessed Are... is released, and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" reaches the Top Ten and is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Blessed Are... and Any Day Now are certified gold, and Joan is nominated for a Best Female Vocalist Grammy Award. Joan, having left Vanguard Records the previous year, signs with A&M Records and records and releases Come From The Shadows as her debut with A&M. While working in Nashville, she co-produces Jeffrey Shurtleff's album State Farm, also contributing vocals to the project.
In June Joan helps to organize an anti-war demonstration for women and children called Ring Around The Congress. Though plagued by political sabotage and Hurricane Agnes, 2500 women and children succeed in surrounding the Congress. Back home, Joan devotes almost a year to helping establish Amnesty International on the west coast. She gives benefit concerts for the fledgling organizations and later serves on the Advisory Council. In December, Joan travels to Hanoi at the invitation of The Liaison Committee to distribute mail and Christmas presents to the American prisoners of war. While she is there, Hanoi is subjected to heavy aerial bombings from U.S. forces, later known as the "Christmas Bombings."
Where Are You Now, My Son? is released. This recording features taped segments from Joan's trip to Hanoi. She also does more fundraising and outreach for Amnesty International.
Gracias A La Vida, a Spanish language album, is released. Joan tours around the world including Japan, Australia, Israel, Lebanon, Tunisia and Argentina. Also, the film Sing Sing Thanksgiving, featuring Joan and taped at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, is released.
Diamonds & Rust is released in April and later in the year it is certified gold. In October Joan begins touring with Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue.
In May, Joan appears at The War Is Over! rally in New York's Central Park. In August she receives the Public Service Award at the first annual Rock Music Awards, and is honored with "Joan Baez Day" on August 2nd in Atlanta, Georgia.
From Every Stage, an two-record set comprised of performances from Joan's 1975 U.S. concert tour, is released, and later in the year Gulf Winds, the first album to consist solely of her own compositions, is also released. She also tours for a second time with Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue.
Joan travels to Northern Ireland and marches with the Irish Peace People, calling for an end to the violence plaguing the country. She also promotes the plight of jailed Czechoslovakian musicians through a mass mailing to members of the music industry.
Joan appears at a Kent State rally protesting the building of a gymnasium over the site where four students were gunned down in 1970, and while touring in Spain, she sings "No Nos Moveran" ("We Shall Not Be Moved") on a live national television show, ignoring a sanction imposed by the late dictator Francisco Franco 40 years earlier prohibiting the song from being performed.
Blowin' Away is released on Portrait Records and Joan tours both Europe and the U.S. Concerts in the U.S. include one at California's Soledad Prison and one as part of the Bread & Roses Festival of Acoustic Music presented at the University of California at Berkeley's Greek Theatre in October.
The film Renaldo and Clara, comprised of footage from the Rolling Thunder Revue and featuring Joan, is released in January.
Joan appears at various demonstrations and rallies on behalf of the nuclear freeze movement, and she also performs at several benefit concerts in California to defeat Proposition 6 (Briggs Initiative), legislation that would have banned openly gay people from teaching in public schools. She is also scheduled to perform a concert in Leningrad on July 4 with Santana and The Beach Boys, but the concert is abruptly cancelled without explanation by Soviet officials. Despite the cancellation, Joan travels to Moscow and meets with dissidents including Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner, bringing them messages and gifts from their friends and relatives in the U.S.
Joan brings suit under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain National Security Agency files pertaining to her. A Federal judge orders all documents, with the exception of two paragraphs in one report, released in November. The NSA protests the judge's ruling, claiming that the de-classified information would prove harmful to "national security." Also, late in the year, Joan participates in the candlelight memorial march to City Hall following the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, and later presents a free concert on the steps of San Francisco's City Hall as her Christmas gift to the city.
The songbook And Then I Wrote..., containing Joan's original songs and sketches, is published. Also, Honest Lullaby is also released this year, and Joan receives the San Francisco Bay Area Music Award (BAMMY) as top female vocalist for 1978. In the fall, she again performs at the Bread & Roses Festival of Acoustic Music, and she also receives the American Civil Liberties Union's "Earl Warren Award" for her commitment to human and civil rights issues.
Joan founds Humanitas International Human Rights Committee, a human rights organization she will head for the next 13 years. The first course of action for Humanitas is to publish the "Open Letter to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam" in five major U.S. newspapers. The letter protests human rights violations occurring in that country. Joan travels to Southeast Asia to substantiate reports of human rights violations there, and back in the U.S., she successfully prevails upon President Jimmy Carter to dispatch the Seventh Fleet to rescue large numbers of "boat people" fleeing the region. Humanitas, along with KRON-TV and the San Francisco Examiner newspaper, forms the Cambodian Emergency Relief Fund and raises over one million dollars in aid.
Joan is bestowed Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees by both Antioch University and Rutgers University for her political activism and the "universality of her music." She also receives the Jefferson Award presented by the American Institute of Public Service, and she receives the San Francisco Bay Area Music Award (BAMMY) as top female vocalist for 1979. The recording Tournee Europeene (European Tour), comprised of songs from her European concert tour, is released in Europe and Latin America. She also gives a free concert in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on Christmas Eve, and begins working with members of the Grateful Dead on a record which is never released in its entirety.
In another trip to Southeast Asia, Joan assists in an effort to take food and medicine into the western regions of Cambodia and participates in a United Nations Humanitarian Conference on Kampuchea (Cambodia).
During a five-week concert and human rights fact-finding tour of Latin America, Joan is forbidden to perform publicly in Argentina, Chile and Brazil. While there, she is subjected to police surveillance and death threats. The country of Nicaragua, however, allows her to perform.
The film There But For Fortune: Joan Baez in Latin America, documenting her 1981 Latin American tour, premieres on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) television. Joan also makes several appearances in support of a nuclear weapons freeze, including performances with Bob Dylan at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles and Paul Simon in Boston. Additionally, she joins Jackson Browne in an ecumenical vigil in Washington, D.C. in memory of assassinated Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero.
Very Early Joan, a two-record set comprised of Joan's live concert performances recorded between 1961-1963, is released by Vanguard Records.
Live Europe '83, a live album comprised of performances recorded during her spring 1983 concert tour of Europe, is released in Europe and Canada. The album is awarded a gold record in France and the Academy Charles Cros Award for the "Best Live Album of 1983." Also, while on tour in France Joan presents a free concert dedicated to nonviolence in Paris on the Place de la Concorde on July 15, attended by an estimated crowd of 120,000, and she receives the French Legion D'Honneur Award.
In the U.S., Joan appears on the Grammy Awards telecast for the first time, performing "Blowin' In The Wind," and she embarks on her first U.S. concert tour in three years.
The American Civil Liberties Union brings suit on behalf of 15 organizations and 37 individuals, including Joan, against the conservative Western Goals Foundation. The plaintiffs charge that the organization illegally accessed Los Angeles police department databases and intelligence files on dissident organizations and individuals. The suit is later settled for $1.8 million dollars.
Joan appears in the film Hard Travelin', a documentary on Woody Guthrie, and contributes a song to the film's soundtrack album. She also tours the U.S. and Europe, and begins work on her second autobiographical book. The Vanguard collection Greatest Hits is released.
Joan attends Club 47's 25th Anniversary concert, held at Boston's Symphony Hall, and also performs with the Boston Pops Orchestra for a segment of PBS's Evening At Pops television program. In the summer, she opens the U.S. portion of the Live Aid benefit concert. She also tours the U.S., Australia and Canada, and appears at the Newport Folk Festival in August, the first Festival since 1969.
In November, Joan travels to Poland with her friend and fellow activist, Ginetta Sagan, and among others, meets Lech Walesa.
Joan is featured as a performer with Amnesty International's Conspiracy of Hope tour, and she appears at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium reunion concert in San Francisco, which is later broadcast on television as A 60s Reunion With Bill Graham. Also, at the time of the summit meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, Joan performs "The People's Summit" concert which is broadcast live throughout Iceland.
And A Voice To Sing With, Joan's autobiography, is published by Summit Books (Simon & Schuster) and becomes a New York Times bestseller. Recently, her first studio album in eight years, is released by Gold Castle Records. Joan Baez, a PBS documentary featuring concert and other footage and an interview, premieres.
Joan travels to the Middle East to meet with and sing for the people of Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip. She also performs in a sold-out benefit concert at New York's Carnegie Hall for Countdown '87, a coalition formed to lobby against the U.S. support of the Nicaraguan contras. Through Humanitas, Joan, together with Bill Graham, co-produces a benefit concert for the AIDS Emergency Fund at Graham's Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. The show features Joan and Mimi Farina, as well as members of the Grateful Dead.
The song "Asimbonanga" (from Recently) is nominated for a Best Contemporary Folk Recording Grammy Award.
Joan is featured as a special guest performer on Amnesty International's Human Rights Now! concert tour. While touring in Europe, she leads a candlelight march in Rome on July 28, seeking repeal of a death sentence against a U.S. teenager.
In May Joan performs in Czechoslovakia in a concert attended by many of that country's dissidents. She is later credited by President Vaclav Havel (who was in attendance at the concert) as having been a great influence in the subsequent nonviolent "Velvet Revolution." Joan also receives the Leadership Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
Diamonds & Rust In The Bullring, recorded in concert in Bilbao, Spain in 1988, is released in April. Speaking Of Dreams, featuring songs recorded with Paul Simon, Jackson Browne and the Gipsy Kings, is released in November.
The video Joan Baez In Concert, featuring a guest appearance by Jackson Browne, premieres on PBS television in March. Joan tours Europe in the spring and the U.S. in the summer, including six dates with the Indigo Girls in which they open and close the shows as a trio.
Brothers In Arms, a Gold Castle Records compilation album featuring two previously unreleased songs, is released in September.
In a benefit performance for Humanitas International Human Rights Committee, Joan performs in a vocal quartet, appropriate titled Four Voices For Human Rights, with Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter in Berkeley, California, in October. The four women perform together numerous times throughout the next few years.
Play Me Backwards is released on Virgin Records, and Joan embarks on a world tour lasting through 1993.
Humanitas International Human Rights Committee ceases operations after thirteen years of work.
At the invitation of Refugees International and sponsored by The Soros Foundation, Joan travels to war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina in an effort to help bring more attention to the suffering there. She is the first major artist to perform in Sarajevo since the outbreak of the civil war. In October, Joan becomes the first major artist to perform in a professional concert presentation on Alcatraz Island (former Federal Penitentiary) in San Francisco in a benefit for her sister Mimi Farina's Bread & Roses organization.
Play Me Backwards is nominated for a Best Contemporary Folk Recording Grammy award. Rare, Live & Classic, a box-set retrospective chronicling her career from 1958-1989, is released on Vanguard Records. The set contains 60 tracks, 22 of which are previously unreleased.
Joan tours the U.S. and Europe extensively. She performs at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala in Washington, D.C., in honor of one of the recipients, Pete Seeger. Along with Janis Ian, Joan performs for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's "Fight the Right" fundraising event in San Francisco.
In April, Joan performs four shows at the legendary Bottom Line club in New York City with guest artists Mary Black, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mimi Farina, Tish Hinojosa, Janis Ian, Indigo Girls, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and Dar Williams. The best of these performances are released on the CD Ring Them Bells on Guardian Records.
Joan receives the San Francisco Bay Area Music Award (BAMMY) for Outstanding Female Vocalist for 1995. Greatest Hits, a compilation by A&M Records is released as part of their Backlot Series releases. Live At Newport, a CD of previously unreleased performances from Joan's 1963, 1964 and 1965 Newport Folk Festival appearances, is released by Vanguard Records. She tours the world in support of Ring Them Bells. In October, she once again returns to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco in a benefit concert for Bread & Roses along with Indigo Girls and Dar Williams.
Gone From Danger, Joan's second project for Guardian Records, is released on September 23. She begins a world tour in Europe in October.
Joan continues to tour in support of Gone From Danger. She also appears at a fundraising event to benefit the legal defense fund for her cousin, Peter Baez, fighting charges stemming from his operating a medicinal marijuana clinic.
Joan and Bonnie Raitt visit environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill in a 200 foot redwood tree named Luna, several hundred miles north of San Francisco to encourage her during her two-year stay to protect the tree from the logging industry.
Joan continues extensive touring in the U.S. and Europe. She joins an all-star cast and participates in three Honor the Earth benefits on reservations in Montana. A concert performance taped in Philadelphia is broadcast over the internet.
At the first BBC2 Folk Awards in London, Joan is presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Joan cancels her U.S. and Canadian tour due to the illness of her sister, Mimi Farina. Mimi succumbs to a rare form of cancer on July 18, and Joan eulogizes her sister at a memorial service a Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
Joan accepts the limited engagement role of "La Contessa" as part of the cast of Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco.
In August Vanguard Records begin re-releasing Joan's catalog as part of their Original Master Series. The series will encompass all 13 original albums she recorded while under contract from 1960-1972. Each reissue will feature digitally restored sound, bonus cuts, new and original artwork, and new liner notes essays written by Arthur Levy.
Joan returns to touring in the U.S. and Canada. Joan also rejoins the Teatro ZinZanni cast for another limited run.
The Bay Area Chapter of NARAS presents Joan with their Governor's Award. She is also presented with an special award by the John Steinbeck Society.
For the third time, Joan reprises her role as "La Contessa" in Teatro ZinZanni.
In August Universal follows Vanguard's lead and releases a mini-boxed set of Joan's six complete A&M albums, with bonus material and new liner notes by Arthur Levy.
Joan joins Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Billy Bragg and Chrissie Hynde in London for the Concert for a Landmine Free World. Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin presents her debut performance of The Joan Baez Suite, Opus 144. Composed for Isbin by John Duarte and commissioned by the Augustine Foundation, the piece features songs from Joan's early career.
Dark Chords on a Big Guitar is released and Joan begins to tour in support of the CD.
Joan tours the UK in January and February, and presents Steve Earle with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC2 Folk Awards. Joan and Steve also do a series of concert dates together in June, after which she heads to Europe for a summer tour.
In the fall Joan joins the west coast leg of documentary filmmaker Michael Moore's "Slacker Uprising Tour" in advance of the U.S. elections.
After some well-deserved time off in the winter and spring, Joan returns to Teatro ZinZanni as the Gypsy "Calliope."
In August she joins antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas, for the weeks long protest outside President Bush's ranch. Sheehan's son Casey was killed in combat while serving in Iraq.
Joan returns to touring in the U.S. in the fall, after the release of her live CD Bowery Songs, recorded in November of 2004 at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City.
Joan tours the U.K., France, Germany and Italy in March and April.
In late May Joan joins Julia Butterfly Hill and others in an effort to save a community farm in south central Los Angeles.
In July Joan is honored by the Legal Community Against Violence, a public interest law center dedicated to preventing gun violence.
In October Joan travels to the Czech Republic to help honor Vaclav Havel at the annual conference of Forum 2000.
Joan tours the U.S. in October and November.
Joan receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) at the 2007 Grammy Awards, and introduces a performance by the Dixie Chicks.
In October, Joan is honored by the Huntington's Disease Society of America at their 40th Anniversary Guthrie Awards at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
Joan returns to the U.K./Europe for a concert tour in the winter.
Joan tours in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, France, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovakia, Italy, and Spain. She also appears at the Glastonbury Festival in the United Kingdom.
In June Joan attends Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday celebration, 46664, in London's Hyde Park.
In September, Joan receives the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award at the Americana Music Association's seventh annual awards show in Nashville.
Day After Tomorrow, produced by Steve Earle and recorded in Nashville, is released on September 9.
In January, Joan performs at the first Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama and performs at the Peace Ball.
On May 3rd, Joan performs at the Pete Seeger birthday celebration concert at Madison Square Garden.
The PBS American Masters series premieres the story of Joan's life, Joan Baez: How Sweet The Sound.
Throughout the year, Joan tours the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, France, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
In February Joan performs at the White House in Washington, DC, as part of In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement.
Joan tours in Austria, Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal in February and March. While in Spain in March, she is awarded the Orden de las Artes y las Letras de Espana (Order of Arts and Letters from Spain), the country's most prestigious award given to foreign artists.
In May Joan participates in a Haitian relief benefit organized by the Jenkins Penn Haitian Relief Organization, and in June she is honored with the Humanitarian Award by the Children's Health Fund in New York City.
In October and November Joan tours in the United States and Canada.
The album Joan Baez is inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
In February Joan is awarded the 2011 Folk Alliance International Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award, and in March Joan is honored by Amnesty International with the inaugural Joan Baez Award for Outstanding Inspirational Service in the Global Fight for Human Rights.
Joan joins the cast of Teatro ZinZanni once again in June and July.
While in Paris, Joan officially receives the Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honor), representing her status as a Chevalier (Knight) in the Order.
In November Joan participates in Occupy Wall Street's Veterans Day Rally in New york City.
Joan's touring for the year includes France, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the United States.
Joan tours France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Morocco, Italy, Austria, and Ecuador.
In May Joan is honored by International House at UC Berkeley.
Early in the year Joan travels to Hanoi to revisit the area she spent time in during the Christmas bombings of 1971.
Joan tours the United States in June. In July she joins Emmylou Harris and Jackson Browne in a benefit performance for Downtown Streets Team, a San Jose area organization working to end homelessness.
In August Joan tours Australia and New Zealand for the first time since 1985.
Early in the year Joan performs as a guest of Mary Chapin Carpenter with the New York Philharmonic.
Joan returns to Latin America in March for the first time since 1981, doing shows in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Chile. Coinciding with this trip is the release of "Diamantes," a CD combining Spanish language song culled from the 1988 album Diamonds and Rust in the Bullring with some concert favorites and two newly recorded Portuguese songs.
She tours the U.S. in June, July, and November, as well as Europe and the U.K. in September and October.
In November Joan receives the ASCAP Centennial Award, a singular once-in-a-century honor.
The album Joan Baez (1960) is inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.
In March Joan tours Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
In May Joan receives Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award, the organization's top honor recognizing those who have shown exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights.
Joan tours Turkey, Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Luxembourg in July, with a final appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival in the U.K.
September and October find Joan touring in Australia and New Zealand.
Joan celebrates her 75th birthday with a star-studded evening at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. The concert is filmed and airs on PBS Television's Great Performances.
Joan tours the U.S. in March, Europe in July and August, and the U.S. again in the Fall.
Late in the year, Joan visits Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota where tribes gathered to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In April Joan is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In the summer Joan, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls perform eleven shows in a reunion of the early 1990's Four Voices.
In September Joan's artwork receives its first solo professional gallery showing at the Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, California. "Mischief Makers" is a collection of portrait paintings of people who have brought about social change through nonviolent action.
Whistle Down The Wind, Joan's final studio album produced by Joe Henry is released on March 2nd.
Joan spends much of the year touring the world as she begins her "Fare Thee Well" tour, the final extended tour of her career.
In December, Joan is inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Governor Jerry Brown.
In January Joan participates in a Civil Rights Retreat organized by the Gandhi King Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice.
Whistle Down The Wind garners a nomination for the Best Folk Album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.
Joan spends much of the year touring the world and completes her "Fare Thee Well" tour, culminating with a July 28th final concert at Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain.
In November Joan receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Grammys and helps celebrate the 60th anniversary of Club Passim (Club 47) in Boston.
The Covid-19 pandemic spreads around the world. Joan produces several at-home video performances of songs shared on her social media accounts. She is inspired by the resilience of the Italian people under the Covid-19 lockdown and does a painting, "Viva Italia," in their honor, produces a limited edition print run and raises $50,000 for pandemic relief. Similarly, following the death of John Prine, she painted his portrait, titled "Hello In There," which is sold as a limited edition print, and raises $50,000 for the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative at Columbia University's Earth Institute.
The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, announces Joan as a member of the 2020 class of Honorees, however the ceremony is postponed until 2021.
Joan is inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Eight (8) Gold Albums
- Joan Baez
- Joan Baez, Volume Two
- Joan Baez In Concert
- Blessed Are...
- Any Day Now
- Diamonds & Rust
- Live Europe '83
One (1) Gold Single
- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
Two (2) Grammy Awards
- 2007 - Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2019 - Lifetime Achievement Award (Latin Grammys)
Eight (8) Grammy Nominations
- 1963 - Joan Baez In Concert for Best Folk Recording
- 1965 - There But For Fortune for Best Folk Recording
- 1969 - Any Day Now for Best Folk Recording
- 1972 - Best Female Vocalist
- 1988 - Asimbonanga for Best Folk Recording
- 1993 - Play Me Backwards for Best Contemporary Folk Recording
- 2009 - Day After Tomorrow for Best Contemporary Folk Recording
- 2019 - Whistle Down The Wind for Best Folk Album
One (1) The Music Independent Nomination
- 1989 - Speaking of Dreams for Independent Record of the Year
One (1) International Bluegrass Award
- 2002 - Clinch Mountain Sweethearts (Ralph Stanley)
Three (3) BAMMY (San Francisco Bay Area) Awards
Two (2) Honorary Doctorate Degrees
- 1980, Doctor of Humane Letters, Antioch University
- 1980, Doctor of Humane Letters, Rutgers University
Other Awards and Titles
- Citation, Who's Who In The West, 1964
- Honorary Deputy Sheriff, Jefferson, Kentucky, 1964
- Founder, Institute For The Study Of Nonviolence, 1965
- Chicago Business Executives Move For Vietnam Peace Award, 1971
- Joan Baez Day in Atlanta, Georgia, August 2, 1975
- Thomas Merton Award, 1976
- Public Service Award, 3rd Annual Rock Music Awards, 1977
- Founder and President, Humanitas International Human Rights Committee, 1979-1992
- Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award, ACLU, 1979
- Jefferson Award, American Institute of Public Service, 1980
- Lennon Peace Tribute Award, 1982
- A.D.A. Award, Americans For Democratic Action, 1982
- SANE Education Fund Peace Award, 1983
- Chevalier, Legion d'Honneur, France, 1983
- Best Live Album, Academy Charles Cros, France, 1983
- Medaille de la Paix, France, 1988
- Leadership Award, ACLU of Southern California, 1989
- Death Penalty Focus of California Award, 1992
- Award of Achievement, The Gleitsman Foundation, 1994
- Joan Baez Day in Santa Cruz, California, August 27, 1994
- Golden Achievement Award, WXPN-FM Radio, Philadelphia, 1996
- Governors Award, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) (SF), 2003
- John Steinbeck Award, Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinback Studies, San Jose State University, 2003
- Josephine and Frank Duveneck Humanitarian Award, National Honoree, 2003
- Distinguished Leadership Award, Legal Community Against Violence, 2006
- Lifetime Achievement Award, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), 2007
- E-Chievement Award, E-Town, 2008
- Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award, Americana Music Association, 2008
- Orden de las Artes y Las Letras de España (Order of Arts and Letters), Spain, 2010
- Humanitarian Award, Children's Health Fund, 2010
- Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award, Folk Alliance International, 2011
- Joan Baez Award for Outstanding Inspirational Service in the Global Fight for Human Rights, Amnesty International, 2011
- Courage of Conscience Award, The Peace Abbey, Boston, 2011
- Centennial Award, ASCAP, 2014
- Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, 2015
- Joe Hill Memorial Music Award, 2017
- Member, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2017
- Member, California Hall of Fame, 2018
- Revolutionary Artist Award, the Narada Michael Walden Foundation, 2019
- Woody Guthrie Prize, Woody Guthrie Center, 2020
- Gratias Agit Award (Czech Republic), 2020
- Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2020
- Honoree, Kennedy Center Honors, 2020
- Laureate, Scheherazade Foundation Gold Medal, 2023
- Honoree, Order of the White Double Cross, Second Grade (Slovak Republic), 2024
- Member, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS)
- Member, National Academy of Popular Music
- Member, National Academy of Songwriters