Tracy Chapman makes country music history

Tracy Chapman has made country music history at this year’s instalment of the Country Music Association Awards.

The milestone comes as her 35-year-old hit song ‘Fast Car’ was named both song and single of the year at the 2023 awards ceremony in Nashville.

Despite being released back in 1988 as the lead single from Chapman’s self-titled debut album, the song won the awards due to the recent cover from American singer-songwriter Luke Combs.


Released earlier this year, the rendition reached the Number Two spot in the US singles chart and Number 30 on the UK charts.

However, the win for Combs also marked a long-overdue milestone for the original songwriter, as it meant that Chapman became the first Black songwriter to win Song of the Year in the award’s 57-year history.

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“First and foremost, I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time,” Combs said, accepting the award and calling the prize “an honour”. “I just recorded it because I loved the song. It’s the first favourite song that I ever had, at 4 years old.”

Since its release 35 years ago, the original version by Chapman has resonated with listeners for its haunting lyrics that describe the desire to escape poverty. It has also seen plenty of other covers from the likes of Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, Pumas and Khalid.

Speaking with Rolling Stone earlier this year, Chapman shared her love of Combs’ rendition and added that she was “honoured” to see the track climbing the ranks on US country radio.


The recent cover of the 1989 classic is also predicted to receive a Grammy nomination for Record Of The Year later this week when nominations are revealed (via BBC News).

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Last year, ‘Tracy Chapman’, the debut album from which the original song features, was reported as being among the top-selling debut albums in UK chart history.

Others on the list included ‘Back To Bedlam’ by James Blunt, ‘Spirit’ by Leona Lewis, ‘The Fame’ by Lady Gaga and ‘Spice’ by Spice Girls. However, it was Meatloaf’s 1977 breakthrough LP ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ that claimed the top spot with over 3.5million copies sold in the UK alone.