Happy 78th Birthday to Joan Baez!
Let’s just imagine that someone said to me: “You can only listen to one song for the rest of your life. Pick one.”
I know what song I would pick: Joan Baez’s Diamonds and Rust.
It is so pretty and meaningful with lyrics written by Miss Baez that are reportedly about her relationship with Bob Dylan in the 60s. The song recounts an out-of-the-blue phone call from an old lover, which sends her a decade back in time, to a “crummy” hotel in Greenwich Village; she recalls giving him a pair of cuff-links, and summarizes that memories bring “diamonds and rust.”
In recent years, Diamonds and Rust has even more meaning because it is the only song that a late friend of mine, who died in 2009, enjoyed singing together. He loved heavy metal (I do not) so he had the Judas Priest version in his head while I had Miss Baez’s. I loved singing that song with my friend Walt and cherish the memories of doing so more now than ever.
Anyway, Miss Baez turns 78 years old today! She’s had a legendary career with more than two dozen albums and recorded songs in at least half a dozen languages. She performs everything from folk, rock and pop to country, lullabyes and gospel.
In 2007, the woman who performed at Woodstock, Live Aid and the Newport Folk Festival received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 49th Grammy awards.
Here is a 1975 performance of Diamonds and Rust: