Pete Seeger was one of Baez's first musical influences. She told Rolling Stone
magazine in 2009 about seeing the legend perform live when she was a young girl, "It's like they gave me a vaccine, and it worked." After starting out as a performer at coffee houses in the Boston area, Baez got her first big break when Bob Gibson invited her to sing with him at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. Baez told The Telegraph
in 2009, "I walked on stage and it looked like the largest gathering of people on earth... I felt as if I'd been invited to my own execution." A year later, her self-titled debut album went gold, as did her 1961 follow-up, Joan Baez, Vol. 2
, and her next two live albums. Baez has not been known as a radio-friendly singles artist over her career, although her cover of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
," written by Robbie Robertson of the Band, made the Top 5 in 1971.