On a tour stop with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
“The next day, Dr. King was sleeping and nobody wanted to wake him up. So they sent me into his room. I was mortified, but I went in and sang ‘Swing Low.’ And he rolls over and says, ‘Mmm, I believe I hear the sound of an angel. Sing another one, Joan.'”
31 albums later, a lifetime achievement Grammy, social engagement ranging from peace rallies and vocal critiques on the Bush administration, Joan Baez celebrates 50 years in the biz. Baez is largely known for her covers of songs such as “We shall overcome”, which became the unofficial anthem for the civil rights movement, “Let it be” and “No woman no cry”. Over the years, she has honed a vibrato that goes for miles, and is a renowned folk songstress. She continually goes against the grain of mainstream media, once declining a $50 000 contract with Coca-Cola, since she did not drink the beverage, which gave her street cred., so to speak, and highlighted her morale. Not to mention, Baez has travelled innumerable locations for causes of human rights. Let’s just say this singer/activist has been in great company marching with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., standing alongside Nelson Mandela for his 90th birthday and supporting Vaclav Havel in his fight for Czech Republic, and many more.
In more recent news, she sang at the inauguration of our first Black president, of whom she is a great supporter. She says, “It’s fascinating to change the face of the world in a matter of a minute [by electing a new president] […] I’m enjoying the ride.” Is it presumptuous to say that she too changes the world one socially conscious rendition at a time and in her overt opposition to war, even willing to be jailed for the cause? I must say, we here at M.I.S.S are surely enjoying the ride.
Joan Baez singing “It Ain’t Me, Babe” (Live 1965)—a “protest” song…
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