The 16 Best Joan Baez Quotes

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

In many ways, Joan Baez is the voice of reason when it comes to American folk music. Today, the 81-year-old musician and free-thinker is remembered for her songs as much as she is for her perspectives on life and what it means to be a good spirit.

For the Staten Island-born Baez, who is famous for her music and her young love with legendary artist Bob Dylan, music was as much a portal to a better place as it was something delightful to treat your ears to. She’s also appreciated for her reinterpretations of songs, having recorded tunes by artists ranging from Bob Marley to Woody Guthrie.

Here we will dive into Baez’s thoughts when it comes to the world, thoughtfulness, philosophy, and more. Here, we will explore the 16 best Joan Baez quotes.

1. “Action is the antidote to despair.”

2. “That’s all nonviolence is – organized love.”

3. “You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.”

4. “As we know, forgiveness of oneself is the hardest of all the forgivenesses.”

5. “If people have to put labels on me, I’d prefer the first label to be human being, the second label to be pacifist, and the third to be folk singer.”

6. “I’ve never had a humble opinion. If you’ve got an opinion, why be humble about it?”

7. “Someone had to change the world. And obviously, I was the one for the job.”

8. “During the ‘ballad’ years for me, the politics was latent; I was just falling in love with the ballads and my boyfriend. And there was the beauty of the songs.”

9. “The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.”

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10. “I think music has the power to transform people, and in doing so, it has the power to transform situations—some large and some small.”

11. “People say I’m such a pessimist, but I always was. It never stopped me from doing what I had to do. I would say I’m a realist.”

12. “Instead of getting hard ourselves and trying to compete, women should try and give their best qualities to men—bring them softness, teach them how to cry.”

13. “My dread is for my show to be a nostalgia act. So the key to it is how do we keep it fresh?”

14. “I’m lucky to have met so many people who have been involved in peace and who have been peace prize winners.”

15. “The hardest song to write is a protest song, a topical song with meaning.”

16. “Mostly what I listen to when I turn on my little iPod is opera.”

Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images

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