Joan Baez in Concert

Singer-songwriter-activist Joan Baez was born on January 9, 1941 in Staten Island, New York.  In many ways, Baez is the voice of the 1960s.  She started out as an important part of the folk movement in the early part of that decade, recording many popular songs throughout the decade.  And in 1969, she performed at Woodstock.

Baez also became one of the early and most vocal artists working for social justice issues. She continues to be a voice for important causes. For example, she marched next to Martin Luther King, Jr. and went to jail for supporting the draft resistance. And, she sang in the first Amnesty International tour.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Baez is still making music and doing other important work as she nears the end of her professional career.  On April 7, 2017, Jackson Browne inducted her into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During her induction speech, she noted the current political climate and made the following appeal to the people:

“Where empathy is failing and sharing has been usurped by greed and the lust for power, let us double, triple, and quadruple our own efforts to empathize and to give of our resources and our selves. Let us together repeal and replace brutality, and make compassion a priority. Together let us build a great bridge, a beautiful bridge to once again welcome the tired and the poor, and we will pay for that bridge with our commitment.

“We the people must speak truth to power, and be ready to make sacrifices. We the people are the only one who can create change. I am ready. I hope you are, too. I want my granddaughter to know that I fought against an evil tide, and had the masses by my side.”

“When all of these things are accompanied by music, music of every genre, the fight for a better world, one brave step at a time, becomes not just bearable, but possible, and beautiful.”

For 2018, Baez has planned the “Fare Thee Well Tour 2018.”  And in 2018, she also plans to release her first album since 2008 when she released Day After Tomorrow.  Joe Henry is producing the new album, Whistle Down The Wind.

1965 Live Performance

Celebrate Baez’s birthday by going back to 1965 as you watch her perform a televised concert that year.  June 5, 1965, she performed at the BBC Television Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, London.  Watching her perform does make the world a little more bearable and beautiful.

What is your favorite Joan Baez song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Saturday Mornings in the 1960s and 1970s

    As a kid growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, Saturday mornings were always special. In those days before everything was available 24/7 on the Internet, kids had to wait until Saturday mornings to catch a string of mindless fun programs aimed at their age group.

    I remember anticipating the new season of shows every year. I looked forward to waking up early on Saturdays, pouring myself a bowl of Quisp cereal, and sitting back in my own world of television. Occasionally, there were some lessons, such as in the Schoolhouse Rock segments, but mostly it was just for fun.

    The following video compiles clips from Saturday morning cartoons and commercials. If you grew up during this time span, the video will bring back a lot of memories of your favorite shows, as well as memories of the toys you had and the ones you always wanted. Maybe you remember when the child Mason Reese was famous for his commercials, or maybe you remember The Hudson Brothers, or maybe you remember commercial catchphrases like “I’m the sole survivor!”

    On the other hand, if you did not grow up during this time, the video will show you what we used to do in the old days. For example, before we had cell phones we had to play Spirograph and a game that shoved a pie in our faces. Check it out.

    What is your favorite Saturday morning memories? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Take the 1966 Music Quiz

    The year 1966 was a great year for music, with classic releases by many artists. Some claim that artists like the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Beach Boys peaked that year. Billboard’s charts featured numerous songs that went on to be staples of classic radio stations today, such as “Good Lovin'” by Young Rascals, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations, and “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones. And there were songs that went on to be AM radio staples too, like Neil Diamond’s “Cherry Cherry.” How well do you know the classic hits of 1966? Do your best with the following fourteen questions. The answers appear at the end with videos of the correct answers.

    1. One of the first classic albums released in 1966 was Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence, released January 17, 1966. Which guitarist on the album -- who also played on the Beach Boys' 1966 Pet Sounds album -- went on to have a successful career as a country singer?

    2. One of Bob Dylan's 1966 songs that ended up on Billboard's Top 100 for the year included the refrain, "Everybody must get stoned." The song's title is "Rainy Day Women #__ & __" What are the two missing numbers?

    3. In 1966, Bob Dylan released a double album in June that included the previous song about getting stoned. What was the name of the album?

    4. In August 1966, what album did the Beatles release that included the songs "Yellow Submarine," "Eleanor Rigby" and "Here, There and Everywhere"?

    5. Which of the following songs did NOT appear on the 1966 release from the Beach Boys, Pet Sounds?

    6. "When a Man Loves a Woman" was one of the top 20 songs of 1966. Although the writers for the song are listed as Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, the person who recorded the song actually made up the lyrics when he began recording the song in the studio. Who made up the lyrics and had a hit record with "When a Man Loves a Woman"?

    7. Which of the following songs from 1966 was the number one song of the year according to Billboard?

    8. Which of the following 1966 songs was the number 2 song according to Billboard?

    9. "California Dreamin'" was ranked number 10 on Bilboard's year-end chart for 1966. Who wrote "California Dreamin'"?

    10. 1966 ended with a father and daughter each with a song in the top 15 for the year. The daughter's hit song was called, "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'." What was her father's 1966 hit song?

    11. In 1966, the Righteous Brothers had their first number one hit after parting with producer Phil Spector. It would also be their last big hit until they cracked the top 10 again eight years later with "Rock and Roll Heaven." What was the last 1960s hit from the Righteous Brothers?

    12. During the summer of 1966, a cover song by the English band the Troggs went to number one. More than three decades later, the song was played in the film Major League when a pitcher played by actor Charlie Sheen came to the mound. Which of the following 1966 hit songs was performed by the Troggs?

    13. One of the top five songs of 1966 was "96 Tears" by __ and the Mysterians. Fill in the blank.

    14. In 1966, Wilson Pickett recorded and released "Land of 1000 Dances," which went on to become his biggest pop hit. The song never uses the phrase "1000 Dances," but it mentions a number of dances. Which of the following dance is NOT mentioned in Pickett's recording?

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    A Coen Brothers Movie About Dave Van Ronk?

    Reports are going around, including from the Los Angeles Times, that the Coen Brothers plan to make a movie loosely based on 1950s-1960s folk-singer Dave Van Ronk and the New York folk scene. It will be great to see the Coens creating another movie based around great music like O Brother Where Art Thou?

    If you watched Martin Sorsese’s documentary about Bob Dylan, No Direction Home, you might recall that one of the most interesting interviewees in the movie was Dave Van Ronk. Van Ronk was a folk singer in Greenwich Village during the 1960s, and he was a friend and supporter to many of the singers who would go on to more fame than he achieved, such as Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Van Ronk passed away in 2002 while he was working on a memoir, which was then completed by his collaborator Elijah Wald. The book, which will be used by the Coens, is titled after one of Van Ronk’s nicknames, The Mayor Of MacDougal Street.

    This video features Van Ronk near the end of his life talking about the song ‘Green Rocky Road,” along with a 1980 performance of the song.

    When I go by Baltimore,
    Ain’t no carpet on the floor.
    Come along and follow me;
    Must go down to Galilee,
    Singin’ green, green rocky road,
    Promenade in’ green;
    Tell me who ya love,
    Tell me who ya love.

    What do you think about the plans of the Coen Brothers? Who should play the Van Ronk character in the movie? Leave a comment.

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