Joan Baez, Oct 8, 1977. American folk singer, songwriter and activist. She rose to fame as an unbilled performer at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She began her recording career in 1960, and achieved immediate success. Her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. 2, and Joan Baez in Concert all achieved gold record status, and stayed on the charts for two years.Her recordings have included topical songs and material dealing with social issues.