#1058: Love is Just a Four Letter Word by Joan Baez
Peak Month: April 1969
6 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #9
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 #86
Joan Baez was born on Staten Island, New York, in 1941. Her mother was from Edinburgh, Scotland, and her father from Puebla, Mexico. Joan remembers racial slurs thrown at her due to her Mexican heritage. Her younger sister, Mimi Farina, was also became a folk singer and recording artist. Love is Just a Four-Letter Word is a song written by Bob Dylan, and long associated with Baez, who recorded it numerous times. Baez performed it throughout her career. Written by Dylan in the mid-60s, Baez immediately took to the song, and began performing it, even before it was finished. In the film Don’t Look Back, a documentary of Dylan’s 1965 tour of the UK, Baez is shown in one scene singing a fragment of what was then an incomplete song in a hotel room late into the evening. Baez tells Dylan, “If you finish it, I’ll sing it on a record.” She first included the song on Any Day Now, her 1968 album of covers of songs by Bob Dylan. Since then she has recorded it on three additional occasions.
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