In a career that has spanned nearly four decades, Joan Baez has become one of the foundations of the junction between traditional music and political activism. Although her name will be forever linked with the 60s, Baez has matured dramatically as a musician since that time, developing her skills as a songwriter and instrumentalist as well as connecting with later generations of singer songwriters.
The daughter of Quaker academics, Baez grew up in California, where she developed both her social consciousness and her love for music at a relatively tender age. Picking up the ukelele, Baez made her performing debut at the high school talent show when she was 14, performing "Honey Love." When her father took a job at M.I.T. a few years later, Baez began performing in the Boston area, and fell into the nascent folk scene developing around Cambridge’s Club 47. After rejecting an offer to be represented by high profile manager Albert Grossman, Baez chose instead manager Manny Greenhill (who died earlier this year) and began performing at colleges and later concert halls along the East Coast to increasingly large crowds. Again rejecting a potentially more lucrative offer from Columbia Records, Baez signed with the then relatively small folk label, Vanguard, which first released her performances at the Newport Folk Festival, and then released her first album, Joan Baez, in 1960.