Joan Chandos Báez (born 9 January 1941) is an American folk singer and songwriter, known for her distinctive vocal style as well as her outspoken political views.
- The only thing that's been a worse flop than the organization of nonviolence has been the organization of violence.
- Daybreak (1968)
- You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now.
- I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war.
- Some Vietnam veterans have told me what they did over there when they were animals. They have been giving testimony about it to the public, to juries, to judges. Some of the juries cry, and so do some of the judges.
One Ex-Marine has a face like a Puerto Rican angel and a body count of 390. That means he and his unit killed 390 people in a variety of hideous ways, and the angel got to go count the dead bodies for the record.
And now he and a lot of his buddies are trying to make up for what we made them do. We paid the taxes that bought the war that hired the men and dropped the fire that burned the huts and killed the people who then were the bodies that Scott counted. It's a rotten thing to brainwash someone into doing the dirty part of killing while we stay at home. It's a rotten thing to pretend the war is coming to an end when it's only taken to the air. And in 1972 if you don't fight against a rotten thing you become a part of it.
What I'm asking you to do is take some risks. Stop paying war taxes, refuse the armed forces, organize against the air war, support the strikes and boycotts of farmers, workers and poor people, analyze the flag salute, give up the nation state, share your money, refuse to hate, be willing to work … in short, sisters and brothers, arm up with love and come from the shadows.
- Text notes on Come From The Shadows (1972)
- If we survive this century it will only be because you and I refuse to become Nazis.
- Joan Baez, SF Chronicle, 16 January 1973, reprinted as the epigraph of the book Bohemia: the protoculture then and now by Richard Miller (Nelson-Hall, Chicago, 1977)
- All of us alive are survivors, but how many of us transcend survival?
- And A Voice to Sing With : A Memoir (2012), p. 322
- Bangladesh, Bangladesh
When the sun sinks in the west
Die a million people of the Bangladesh
- Joan Baez, in the Song for Bangladesh (1971)
Sacco e Vanzetti (1971)
- Lyrics for songs written for the film; the music for the songs composed by Ennio Morricone.
- Blessed are the persecuted
And blessed are the pure in heart
Blessed are the merciful
And blessed are the ones who mourn
- "The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti, Part One"
Against us is the law
With its immensity of strength and power
Against us is the law!
Police know how to make a man
A guilty or an innocent
Against us is the power of police!
The shameless lies that men have told
Will ever more be paid in gold
Against us is the power of the gold!
Against us is racial hatred
And the simple fact that we are poor
My father dear, I am a prisoner
Don't be ashamed to tell my crime
The crime of love and brotherhood
And only silence is shame
- "The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti, Part Two"
- Rebellion, revolution don't need dollars
They need this instead
Imagination, suffering, light and love
And care for every human being
You never steal, you never kill
You are a part of hope and life
The revolution goes from man to man
And heart to heart
And I sense when I look at the stars
That we are children of life
Death is small
- "The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti, Part Two"
Yes, your father and Bartolo
They have fallen
And yesterday they fought and fell
But in the quest for joy and freedom
And in the struggle of this life you'll find
That there is love and sometimes more
Yes, in the struggle you will find
That you can love and be loved also
Forgive me all who are my friends
I am with you
I beg of you, do not cry
- "The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti, Part Three"
- Here's to you, Nicola and Bart
Rest forever here in our hearts
The last and final moment is yours
That agony is your triumph
Diamonds & Rust (1975)
- We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust
- Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed
- Diamonds & Rust
- Now you're telling me
You're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid
- Diamonds & Rust
Gulf Winds (1976)
Miracles bowl me over
And often will they do so
Now I think I was asleep till I heard
The voice of the great Caruso
Bring infinity home
Let me embrace it one more time
Make it the lilies of the field
Or Caruso in his prime
- With the precision of a hummingbird's heart
Was the lord of the monarch butterflies
One-time ruler of the world of art
- True he was a vocal miracle
But that's only secondary
It's the soul of the monarch butterfly
That I find a little bit scary
- Perhaps he's just a vehicle
To bear us to the hills of Truth
That's Truth spelled with a great big T
And peddled in the mystic's booth
There are oh so many miracles
That the western sky exposes
Why go looking for lilacs
When you're lying in a bed of roses?
Children of the 80's (1980)
- Full lyrics online · 24 December 1980 performance · 31 December 1981 performance · 1984 performance ·
- We're the children of the 80's, haven't we grown
We're tender as a lotus and we're tougher than stone
And the age of our innocence is somewhere in the garden
- Some of us may offer a surprise
Recently have you looked in our eyes
Maybe we're your conscience in disguise
- We are the warriors of the sun
The golden boys and the golden girls
For a better world
And a Voice to Sing With (1989)
- I was born gifted. I can speak of my gifts with little or no modesty, but with tremendous gratitude, precisely because they are gifts, and not things which I created, or actions about which I might be proud. My greatest gift, given to me by forces which confound genetics, environment, race, or ambition, is a singing voice. My second greatest gift, without which I would be an entirely different person with an entirely different story to tell, is a desire to share that voice, and the bounties it has heaped upon me, with others. From that combination of gifts has developed an immeasurable wealth-a wealth of adventures, of friendships, and of plain joys. Over a period of nearly three decades I have sung from hundreds of concert stages, all over the world: Eastern and Western Europe, Japan, Australia, Northern Africa, South, Central, and North America, Canada, the Middle East, the Far East. I sang in the bomb shelters of Hanoi during the Vietnam War; in the Laotian refugee camps in Thailand; in the makeshift settlements of the boat people in Malaysia. I have had the privilege of meeting some extraordinary citizens of the world, both renowned and unsung: Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner; The Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina, Mairead Corrigan in Belfast, Bertrand Russell, Cezar Chavez, Orlando Letelier; Bishop Tutu, Lech Walesa; Presidents Corazon Aquino, François Mitterrand, Jimmy Carter, and Giscard d'Estaing; the King of Sweden. Through Amnesty International I have met political prisoners who have endured repression and tortures under both right- and left-wing governments and who have astounded me with their humor, good cheer, and courage.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., more than any other public figure helped to solidify my ideas and inspired me to act upon them.
- My personal life has also been complicated-and public-though I am beginning to find more of a sense of peace and self-acceptance than I ever thought possible. Once I wanted to be married and have heaps of kids scrambling around me, licking cake mix off eggbeaters and riding Saint Bernards through the kitchen while I cooked stew over an open fire. Alas, those images bore no relation to my areas of competence, and since my marriage to David Harris dissolved in January of 1974 I have lived mainly alone, with occasional romantic interludes, the best of which are magical and splendidly impractical.
- My art, work, family and friends, my son Gabe, and a curious relationship with God remain the sustaining forces in my life.
- Through all these changes my social and political views have remained astoundingly steadfast. I have been true to the principles of nonviolence, developing a stronger and stronger aversion to the ideologies of both the far right and the far left and a deeper sense of and sorrow over the suffering they continue to produce all over the world.
- I am recording them for myself, to take a hard look back before facing forward in these most bizarre of times.
- I had an affair with a girl when I was twenty-two. It was wonderful. It happened, I assume, after an overdose of unhappiness at the end of an affair with a man, when I had a need for softness and understanding. I assume that the homosexuality within me, which people love to say is in all of us, made itself felt at that time, and saved me from becoming cold and bitter toward everyone. I slowly mended, and since the affair with Kimmie have not had another affair with a woman nor the conscious desire to.
- It seemed a miracle that I would meet, and have the blessing to know and work with, one of the two saints of the phenomenon which had won my heart when I was barely sixteen years old: the concept of radical nonviolence, introduced to the world as a revolutionary political tool by Mahatma Gandhi in India, and reintroduced now by Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United States of America.
- The first time I was in the South was in 1961. I was on a regular concert tour, and was barely aware of the civil rights movement, probably because I hadn't yet made the transition from Michael to the real world. I did discover, however, that no blacks were at any of my concerts, and would not have been allowed in if they had come. The following summer I wrote into the contract that I wouldn't sing unless blacks were admitted into the hall.
- There was a revolution going on all around us, and if a white businessman and his family wanted to hear me sing "Fair and Tender Maidens," they had to come and sit in this boiling hot room and integrate an audience.
- Of the many photographs I have of myself and famous people, there is one which I had framed and have never forgotten. It is of King and me at the head of that line of schoolchildren in Grenada, Mississippi. Ira is in back of me, and Andy, and then a long string of kids, all black.
- I have never been involved in the campaign of any major political candidate, preferring to work entirely outside of the party structure. Occasionally I have slipped a check and a note of encouragement to some brave congressperson who has defied everybody and risked his or her return to office because of principles.
- Seeing that nothing could come of our presence in Vietnam except disaster, I had a quiet revelation and decided to refuse to pay my military taxes.
- What I have to say is this: I do not believe in war. I do not believe in the weapons of war...I am not going yo volunteer 60% of my year's income tax that goes to armaments... Maybe the line should have been drawn when the bow and arrow were invented, maybe the gun, the cannon, maybe. Because now it is all wrong, all impractical, and all stupid. So all I can do is draw my own line now. I am no longer supporting my portion of the arms race . . .
- letter to IRS
- one day I told Ira that I did not want to remain an ignoramus forever and asked if he would consider tutoring me more formally. Ira claims that I suggested the next idea, and I think that he did, but the discussion evolved into a proposition that we form a school called the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence.
- There was a great deal of profound joy in my life, but there was practically no fun. I didn't know much about having fun. I felt too guilty, as though I wasn't supposed to start having fun until everyone in the world was fed and clothed.
- I quit reading what the papers said about me because either they portrayed me as more self-sacrificing than I was, or they didn't like me and said, in a variety of ways, that I was a fake.
- Al Capp, creator of the "L'il Abner" comic strip, launched the most imaginative of the negative attacks, introducing a character into his strip called Joanie Phoanie...I asked for a retraction but did not get one.
- I learned to love the Japanese bow, and I use it to this day in concert to thank people for having come to hear me.
- Although I later fell in love with France, and now consider it my second home, the first country to win my young heart and seduce me with its language and beauty and fashion and flowers and intellect and men was Italy.
- "Never close the door, you may need this person someday," is one of her favorite expressions. In 1983, at Newsweek's fiftieth anniversary celebration, I was seated across from Mary McCarthy at the head table. The big feature of the evening was a videotaped speech by Henry Kissinger. When he appeared on the big screen I stuffed my stockinged feet into their high heels and left the table, and stood in the lobby until it was finished. My moderation and diplomacy end where Henry's nose begins.
- I am thinking that Ronald Reagan is the same age as my father. They have some things in common. They are both young in spirit, buoyant, well-preserved, and optimistic. Beyond that, I can find only outstanding differences. The President is either ignorant of, or unconcerned by the ills of the world about which my father and I have been speaking. He is particularly immune to any part America may have in engendering these ills, as he dislikes the inconvenience of thinking beyond his own definitions of good-guys/bad-guys, and also doesn't like to be depressed. His pleasant, bumbling demeanor is preferable to the murderous efficiency of Kissinger and Kirkpatrick, but on the other hand, he is involved in the same dark and bloody deeds, all done under the same vast, all-encompassing and convenient banner of anticommunism. He feels that God is on his side, and that he really can do no wrong. What piques me is how this man and his followers can write off someone like my father. Because of my father's protestations about the raping of the Amazon forests, the pollution of our rivers, the misuse and depletion of natural energy, and the poisoning our children's air, people like my father are explained away with the flick of a wrist as a doomsayer, a depressive, a pessimistic liberal.
- there really is no normal, and the things that I do change: study Aikido, take photos, take a dance course, get back cooking, illustrate a songbook, take on a human rights project-write a book. But there are some friends who have remained constant
Quotes about Baez
- Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Joan Baez. She was the queen of folk music then and now. She took a liking to my songs and brought me with her to play concerts, where she had crowds of thousands of people enthralled with her beauty and voice.
People would say, "What are you doing with that ragtag scrubby little waif?" And she'd tell everybody in no uncertain terms, "Now you better be quiet and listen to the songs." We even played a few of them together. Joan Baez is as tough-minded as they come. Love. And she's a free, independent spirit. Nobody can tell her what to do if she doesn't want to do it. I learned a lot of things from her. A woman with devastating honesty. And for her kind of love and devotion, I could never pay that back.
- Bob Dylan, Grammys 2015: Bob Dylan's MusiCares Person of Year speech (7 February 2015)
- She was something else, almost too much to take. Her voice was like that of a siren from off some Greek island. Just the sound of it could put you into a spell. She was an enchantress. You'd have to get yourself strapped to the mast like Odysseus and plug up your ears so you wouldn't hear her. She'd make you forget who you were.
- Bob Dylan, Q&A with Bill Flanagan (22 March 2017)
- There was a new popular music of protest. Pete Seeger had been singing protest songs since the forties, but now he came into his own, his audiences much larger. Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, singing not only protest songs, but songs reflecting the new abandon, the new culture, became popular idols. A middle-aged woman on the West Coast, Malvina Reynolds, wrote and sang songs that fit her socialist thinking and her libertarian spirit, as well as her critique of the modern commercial culture. Everybody now, she sang, lived in "little boxes" and they "all came out just the same."
- Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States
- Joan Baez official website
- Joan Baez's career on A&M Records with gallery, international discography
- Joan Baez Main Page by Richard L. Hess
- BaezFans on Yahoo! Groups
- Joan Baez Links Yahoo Group
- Joan Baez French website
- Joan Baez Lyrics
- "Observations of a Joan Baez Concert" by Leyser and White
- Joan Baez in Vietnam 1972
- Folk singers
- 1941 births
- Living people
- People from New York City
- Activists from the United States
- Women activists
- Guitarists from the United States
- Women guitarists
- Singer-songwriters from the United States
- Women singers
- American folk music
- Folk rock
- Country music
- Tax resisters
- LGBT rights activists
- Anti-war activists
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- Women from the United States
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