Tracy Chapman Discusses Luke Combs’ “Fast Car” Cover Reaching No. 1 on Country Chart

Written By Peter Burditt

Videos by American Songwriter

Tracy Chapman’s hit single “Fast Car” has made a sparking resurgence as Luke Combs’ cover of the 1988 song reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Another accolade Combs’ cover has achieved is reaching the No 2. spot on Billboard Hot 100 with the song, which trumps Chapman, as the original recording peaked at the No. 6 spot on this chart in 1988.

Chapman says she is “honored” and “grateful” that her song found its second home on the charts in 2023 with the help of Combs.

“I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there,” Chapman disclosed to Billboard in an exclusive statement. “I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.'”

Chapman seemingly does have a lot to be grateful for, as the resurgence of this song has made musical history in yet another way. Chapman is the first Black female songwriter to have a song claim the No. 1 spot on the Country Airplay chart as a song’s sole writer since the chart debuted in 1990. Furthermore, according to Rolling Stone, Chapman is only the fourth Black woman to have a writing credit on a No. 1 song on Country Airplay chart. Other women who have co-wrote a No. 1 song are Ester Dean, Alice Randall, and Tayla Parx.

The revival of this song has been 35 years in the making, as the track has come a long way since its original release on Chapman’s self-titled 1988 album. The song’s early success helped Chapman win three Grammy’s for Best New Artist, Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The reaction to Combs’ cover evidently proves one thing about Chapman’s infamous single: that the song’s raw quality provides for its longevity and recent renewal in popularity.

(Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

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