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Joan Baez

(1959 – present)

Joan Baez, born on January 9th, 1941, is an American folk singer and a songwriter who is of mixed Mexican and Scottish descent. Baez rose to prominence in the early ’60s with her stunning renditions of traditional balladry.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Baez came into her songwriting own, penning many songs (most notably “Diamonds & Rust,” a nostalgic piece about her ill-fated romance with Bob Dylan, and “Sweet Sir Galahad,” a song about sister Mimi Fariña’s ( of Richard & Mimi Fariña fame) second marriage, and continued to meld her songcraft with topical issues. She was outspoken in her disapproval of the Vietnam war and later the CIA-backed coups in many Latin American countries.

She was also instrumental in the Civil Rights movement, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King on many occassions and being jailed for her beliefs. In 1963, her performance of “We Shall Overcome” at the Lincoln Memorial just prior to Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream…” speech helped confirm the song as the Civil Rights anthem.

In December 1972, she traveled to Hanoi, North Vietnam, and was caught in that country’s “Christmas Campaign,” in which the U.S. bombed the city more times than any other during the entire war. While pregnant with her only son, Gabriel, she performed a handful of songs in the middle of the night on day one of the 1969 Woodstock festival. She is considered the “Queen of Folk” for being at the forefront of the 1960s folk revival and inspiring generations of female folksingers that followed. Over fifty years after she first began singing publicly in 1958, Joan Baez continues to tour, demonstrate in favor of human rights and nonviolence, and release albums for a world of devoted fans.


Joan Jett (born Joan Marie Larkin; September 22, 1958) is an American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and occasional actress, best known for her work with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, including their hit record "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", which was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 20 to May 1, 1982, as well as for their other popular recordings including "Crimson and Clover", "I Hate Myself for Loving You", "Do You Wanna Touch Me", "Light of Day", "Love is All Around" and "Bad Reputation". She has three albums that have been certified Platinum or Gold, and has been a feminist icon throughout her career. She is considered by the Toronto Sun as the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.

Jett has a mezzo-soprano vocal range.


In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, Jenny reveals that she wants "to be a famous folksinger. Like Joan Baez." A Baez tour poster can be seen above her dorm room bed in the same scene. A live Baez version of "Blowin' in the Wind" is featured on the film soundtrack.
In the 1991 Vietnam War-era drama Dogfight, a copy of Baez's debut album can be seen on the protagonist's nightstand beside her bed. Baez's recording "Silver Dagger", appearing on the soundtrack, plays during a pivotal scene in the film.
In the 2004 film Eulogy, Hank Azaria's character gets high while Baez's song "Diamonds & Rust" plays. The song also appears on the film's soundtrack.
"Here's To You" (music by Ennio Morricone, lyrics by Baez), a song Baez originally performed for the 1971 Italian film Sacco e Vanzetti, became a hymn for the 1960s and 70s civil rights movement. It also appears on the movie soundtrack for the 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The song is also played over the credits of the 1977 quasi-documentary Deutschland im Herbst and just recently used in the video game: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
Cartoonist Al Capp, creator of the comic strip Li'l Abner, expressed his right-wing views during the 1960s by satirizing Baez as a folk singer he called "Joanie Phoanie". Joanie was an unabashed communist radical who sang songs of class warfare – while hypocritically traveling in a limousine and charging outrageous performance fees to impoverished orphans. [4] Capp had this character singing bizarre songs such as "A Tale of Bagels and Bacon" and "Molotov Cocktails for Two". Although Baez was upset by the parody in 1966, she admits to being more amused in recent years. "I wish I could have laughed at this at the time", she wrote in a caption under one of the strips, reprinted in her autobiography. "Mr. Capp confused me considerably. I'm sorry he's not alive to read this, it would make him chuckle," (from And A Voice To Sing With, 1987).
The 1972 comedy album National Lampoon's Radio Dinner includes a Baez parody, "Pull the Triggers, Niggers" (deliberately misspelled as "Pull the Tregroes" on the LP's outside liner notes), performed by Baez sound-alike Diana Reed. The satiric song made specific reference to Baez's ex-boyfriend Bob Dylan's defense of Black Panther and convicted murderer, George Jackson.
In a 2003 episode of the HBO series Six Feet Under, a character, after watching the film Silent Running, comments "I've always loved Joan Baez." Baez's song "Rejoice In The Sun" can be heard in the background.
In an episode of the 1970s television series The Partridge Family, David Cassidy's character says "One lousy sit-in and suddenly she's Joan Baez."
Spike Lee used Baez's 1964 recording of Richard Fariña's "Birmingham Sunday" as the opening song in his 1997 film 4 Little Girls.
Baez has been lampooned multiple times on Saturday Night Live, by comedienne Nora Dunn. One skit features a game show entitled "Make Joan Baez Laugh!" where a dour Baez is ushered onstage while celebrity guests try their hand at getting her to a crack a smile.
Her name appears under the "Special thanks" section of Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11; Baez dedicated her 2003 album Dark Chords on a Big Guitar to Moore.
A humorous song by the punk band The Dead Milkmen, "In Praise of Sha Na Na", features the sardonic line, "I don't care about Joan Baez, 'cause Sha Na Na can wear my fez."
Baez was featured in the 1966 Joan Didion essay "Where the Kissing Never Stops" in the classic Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
In the Todd Haynes Dylan biopic I'm Not There, a character clearly based on her was portrayed by Julianne Moore.
In the television series Arrested Development, George Bluth, Sr. claims that his twin brother Oscar's song "All You Need Are Smiles" made Joan Baez call him the shallowest man in the world.
In the television series Scrubs, J.D. describes one of his patients as being able to sing "like a young Joan Baez".
She is mentioned in Weezer's song "Heart Songs" from their 2008 self-titled album.

 

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