Joan Baez Quotes

Joan Chandos Baez

Born: 9 January 1941, Staten Island, New York

Baez’s father Albert immigrated to the US at age two and became a mathematician and physicist, he was the coinventor of the x-ray microscope. Her mother Joan (often known as “Big Joan” or “Joan Senior”) immigrated from Scotland. The family lived in several US cities as well as Canada, England, France, Italy, and the Middle East, only settling down in 1958 when Albert took a faculty position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the same year Joan started at Boston College. She didn’t go to many classes, busking on the streets of Cambridge and Boston and playing twice a week (for $20 per night) at Cambridge’s Club 47. The following year she appeared for the first time at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She signed with Vanguard and would release the first twelve of her thirty albums with them. She met Bob Dylan at a club in New York City’s Greenwich Village and wasn’t much impressed, Bob was interested in her younger sister Mimi. Baez was impressed by Dylan’s songs and started recording them, they developed a romantic relationship that lasted about three years, and she brought him to public notice by bringing him on stage with her at the 1963 Newport festival. She was also the first major artist to perform songs by a number of other writers including Phil Ochs and Paul Simon and has actively promoted young writers and folk singers ever since. Inspired in part by Dylan’s topical songs, Baez became a major activist voice, starting with the civil rights movement, then Viet Nam (she campaigned against the war and against North Vietnamese human rights violations). In 1969 she performed at a music festival in communist Czechoslovakia where her comments on stage led to her microphone being turned off, she sang for a crowd of four thousand and became an inspiration for the Velvet Revolution. (Future Czech president Vaclav Havel carried her guitar for her, he would have been stopped and arrested by authorities if he hadn’t been part of the concert.) She also campaigned for human rights in South America, the Balkans, and South Africa. She skipped too many classes at Boston College to graduate, but has received at least two honorary doctorates, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, and has at least four gold records for her wall. After fifty years, she’s still on the road singing.

Joan Baez quotes:

Action is the antidote to despair.
    Joan Baez

All of us are survivors, but how many of us transcend survival?
    Joan Baez

As long as one keeps searching, the answers come.
    Joan Baez

Hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers.
    Joan Baez

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 rage and sorrow over the suffering they continue to produce all over the world.
    Joan Baez

I think the question that nobody wanted to deal with is the question they’re posing: did my kid die in vain? Because the answer is too awful.
    Joan Baez

I would say that I’m a nonviolent soldier. In place of weapons of violence, you have to use your mind, your heart, your sense of humor, every faculty available to you … because no one has the right to take the life of another human being.
    Joan Baez

I’ve never had a humble opinion in my life. If you’re going to have one, why bother to be humble about it?
    Joan Baez

If it’s natural to kill why do men have to go into training to learn how?
    Joan Baez

If we don’t sit down and shut up once in a while we’ll lose our minds even earlier than we had expected. Noise is an imposition on sanity, and we live in very noisy times.
    Joan Baez

Instead of getting hard ourselves and trying to compete, women should try and give their best qualities to men – bring them softness, teach them how to cry.
    Joan Baez

It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.
    Joan Baez

Only you and I can help the sun rise each coming morning. If we don’t, it may drench itself out in sorrow.
    Joan Baez

That’s all nonviolence is — organized love.
    Joan Baez

The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.
    Joan Baez

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