Damn, I was stupefied by a song again. I was reading a book and this song came out from nowhere. I had never heard it before. The evocative imagery of the words and music sang by the heavenly voice of Joan Baez made me stop in my tracks and forced me to listen to the song. It was hauntingly beautiful.
I like Joan Baez. I love her voice. My mother had one of her LPalbums that she bought in the States in the ’60s. I played it all the time when I was a little girl. It was my favorite among our collection of records because it was the only one that had lyrics written in the album jacket. I sang with Joan each time I played it on our stereo player everyday (My grandfather asked me one day to stop because he was so tired of listening to it).
I came across the record again a couple of years ago while browsing in one of the boxes my aunt had been keeping in her cabinet. I couldn’t contain my smile as I beheld the ripped and faded album cover again. Memories of my childhood went flooding back in my mind as I played the vinyl record now full of scratches in our dilapidated record player. Hearing her voice again was simply exhilarating.
It is said that this song, Diamonds and Rust, is about her relationship with Bob Dylan. I didn’t know that they were an item before. Where in the world have I been? Anyway, I read somewhere that theirs was a passionate and turbulent love affair that ended awfully. She composed this song after she got a surprise call from him. In it, she reminisces of the time they spent together a decade ago and concludes that memories can bring “diamonds and rust”: meaning time leaves them with both happy and bad memories.
Fans and critics loved the song when it came out in 1975. Joan Baez was not a hit maker but remarkably, the song made it to the Top 40. They said Diamonds and Rust was her masterpiece. I totally agree.