Tracy Chapman Responds to Latest Cover of “Fast Car” by Luke Combs
When Tracy Chapman wrote her iconic song “Fast Car,” little did she know just how many stars would go on to cover it. Chapman first released the song on April 6, 1988, as the lead single from her self-titled debut studio album. When she sang the song during Nelson Mandela‘s 70th Birthday Tribute, it helped the song reach new audiences and eventually hit No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. There have been over 50 covers of the song over the years and most recently, country singer Luke Combs laid down the track.
Combs recorded and shared the song after he said he’s been performing it at concerts for about six years. He added, “Oh man, ‘Fast Car’ has surprised me more than you can imagine. Tracy Chapman wrote this perfect song that I first heard with my dad and it has stayed with me since.” Combs’ version has been climbing the charts, bringing even more new audiences a taste of the classic. After the song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay chart, and soared Chapman to No. 1 on the Billboard’s Country Songwriters chart (June 17), Chapman herself commented about the cover.
The 59-year-old said, “I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there. I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.'” Chapman also celebrated being the first Black woman to be a song’s sole writer to top the chart since its debut in 1990. After her statement, Combs responded, “That’s the gift of a supernatural song writer. The success of my cover is unreal and I think it’s so cool that Tracy is getting recognized and has reached new milestones. I love that she is out there feeling all the love and that she gave me a shout-out! Thank you, Tracy!”
While Combs gave the song a country spin, other artists have been making the song their own for decades. One of the most popular versions is by Jonas Blue featuring Dakota, who gave the song more of a dance/electronic feel. Foxy Brown also covered it and made it more reggae. Of course, others have stuck to the classic pop/rock vibe that Chapman herself put out, with many, including Combs, citing that the song has lyrics that almost everyone can relate to.
The song shares themes of the working class, hoping to get out of the town they’re stuck in and find something better in life. Chapman once revealed that she was inspired to write the tune by her mother, who was a single mom and always worked hard to create a better life for her kids. She also noticed similar stories of others growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. Which version of “Fast Car” is your favorite?