Bob Keye's Top 5 Joan Baez songs

June 23, 2013

Joan Baez: Just plain folk

Ironically, it was ‘all opera and classical’ growing up for Joan Baez, who of course would go on to become perhaps the iconic singer-songwriter of her generation.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

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Joan Baez performs in San Francisco in 2005. Below, the artist in an undated photo.

Courtesy photo by Ron Baker

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Joan Baez will be performing at the State Theatre at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Courtesy photo by Dana Tynan

Additional Photos Below


WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday (Doors open at 7 p.m.)

WHERE: State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $40 to $60


Baez remains socially engaged, although with a much lower public profile. Last year, she contributed vocals for an album that benefitted the Occupy Wall Street movement.

She plays benefits to help victims of wars, and this summer will perform with Jackson Browne and Emmylou Harris in San Jose, Calif., to raise money for an organization that fights homelessness.

"The foundation of my beliefs -- non-violence and activism -- nothing has shifted except the amount of energy I put into it," she said. "I do a lot of things I can do at home, like recording 'We Shall Overcome' in Farsi and sending it to Iran during their attempt at their revolutions."

She continues to perform and record, and in 2007 was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lately, Baez has taken up painting -- specifically, portrait painting -- as an outlet for her creative expression. She has drawn and sketched all her life, but a rough patch a few years ago led her to delve more completely into painting.

"It just sort of presented itself to me -- how about this?" she said, describing her interest in painting as "very serious."

"It doesn't surprise me, it delights me," she said. "How many people are this lucky to run into something equally as exciting as folk singing was when I started singing?"

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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Additional Photos

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Joan Baez influenced – and was influenced by – Bob Dylan, with whom she is pictured in this image from 1963.

Courtesy photo

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Joan Baez performs in Hamburg, Germany, in 1973.

Courtesy photo

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“Diamonds and Rust,” 1975, from “Diamonds and Rust.” Written about her relationship with Bob Dylan, this stands as one of Baez’s most personal songs.

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“The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down,” 1971, from “Blessed Are ...” Baez is best known for her interpretation of other people’s songs. This cover of a song by The Band epitomizes her skills as an interpreter.

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“Farewell Angelina,” 1965, from “Farewell, Angelina.” If Baez is best known as an interpreter of songs, she has interpreted no one more frequently than Dylan. Dylan himself twice recorded this song, but never released it until the “Bootleg Series.” For Baez, it was a Top 10 hit.

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“Love Is Just a Four-Lettered Word,” 1968, from the album of Dylan covers “Any Day Now.” Baez appropriated this song before Dylan was even done writing it. She recorded it several times.

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