Joan Baez: The Last Leaf (Hardcover)
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Since she stepped onstage unannounced at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, Joan Baez has occupied a singular place in popular music. Within three years, she had recorded three best-selling albums and had embarked on a tour of southern US campuses, playing to integrated audiences in an era of segregation. When Time magazine chronicled the folk revival in November 1962, her portrait was on the cover. Her voice was “as lustrous and rich as old gold.” She has mentored generations of singer-songwriters, most famously Bob Dylan. But Joan Baez has always been much more than simply a singer. Even before she stepped on to the podium beside Dr Martin Luther King at the March on Washington, her voice was raised in sorrow and anger as well as in song. The causes for which she has campaigned are legion and it’s no surprise that she was chosen to open Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985. In 1993, amid the siege of Bosnia, she donned a flak jacket to sing for the citizens of Sarajevo offering, as so many times before and since, “an act of love, sharing, witness and music”. Now approaching 80, Baez has stepped down from the stage following a worldwide farewell tour and a final Grammy-nominated album. The Last Leaf is a celebration of a timeless figure whose music and influence will endure long after her voice is silenced. The Discography is by Grammy-nominated music historian Arthur Levy. Joan Baez is the recipient of the 2020 Woody Guthrie Prize.
About the Author
Elizabeth Thomson has written articles and interviews in newspapers and magazines around the world, including The Times and MOJO. A contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, Thomson is also the editor of Conclusions on the Wall: New Essays on Bob Dylan and the co-editor of The Dylan Companion.
"Thomson is a sharp listener, her evocative musical descriptions sing along with her subject’s songs... she has delivered the definitive biography. Five Stars." —Mojo
"I don t think it is an exaggeration to say that this is a book destined to become the definitive word on the life and times of Joan Baez; put it on your list of this year's essential reads." —Americana Music Magazine
"A picture of a woman who has given so much to the world, to music and to activism that it is surprising how little has been written about her... Thomson's book is an excellent starting point." —Folk Radio
"She writes beautifully and covers a cram-filled, spectacular life in a very knowledgeable way... a very well sourced and a very thoughtful book." —Will Swift, Biographer
"Exhaustively researched...pack[s] a hell of a lot into its 224 pages, miraculously managing to include a comprehensive discography, filmography and bibliography and a plethora of photographs that really do enhance the text." —David Kidman, Living Tradition