Joan Baez is a popular American folk singer who has been a social activist since the 1960s, when her version of “We Shall Overcome” became an unofficial anthem for civil rights advocates. She began her career in Boston coffeehouses while a student, and made a splash at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. A unique soprano, Baez sang traditional folk songs and helped the career of Bob Dylan (1963-65). Together they became symbols of the 1960s youth movement, and Baez became an especially outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam. She had commercial success in the 1970s with the hit singles “The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down” (1971) and “Diamonds & Rust” (1975, a song about her relationship with Dylan), and has since been both recording artist and performer for social causes. Baez has worked around the world raising funds for a variety of human rights causes, associating with notables from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Vaclav Havel and Nelson Mandela. Her other albums include Play Me Backward (1992), Gone From Danger (1997), Dark Chords on a Big Guitar (2003) and Day After Tomorrow (2008).
She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2007.