ISBN 13: 9781786750969
HB - 216 x 135mm
8pp colour plate 244pp
Rights Sold: UK, France
Market: Music, Popular Culture
The Last Leaf
by Elizabeth Thomson
Certificate of Merit: 2021 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence.
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 joined Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. on the podium at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963, she had used her gift to bring solace and hope to people who had little of either. In words and deeds, Baez has consistently championed social justice, nonviolence the guiding principle of her life, and the causes for which she has campaigned are legion. Whether playing to integrated audiences in the American south during the years of segregation, in Latin America during the years of brutal dictatorships, or Sarajevo under siege, Baez offered “an act of love, sharing, witness and music”. Approaching 80, she has stepped down from the stage following a worldwide farewell tour and a final, Grammy-nominated album. She is now embarked on a new chapter of life—painting.
Drawing on interviews with long-time friends and musical associates, and on conversations across four decades with Baez herself, Joan Baez: 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.
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.
"The definitive biography. Five stars."
"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."