Tracy Chapman expresses surprise and gratitude for her presence on the country charts, stating, “I never anticipated being on the country charts, but I am deeply honored to have achieved this recognition.”
Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit “Fast Car” has generated significant attention, particularly within the country music scene. While it is commonplace for Combs to be a popular topic of conversation in the country music industry, it marks a unique milestone for Tracy Chapman.
When Combs reached the top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart on July 8, Chapman became the first black woman to achieve a No. 1 position on the chart as the sole writer.
Expressing her sentiments to Billboard, Chapman shared, “I never anticipated finding myself on the country charts, but I am honored to be recognized there. I am happy for Luke and his success, and I am grateful that new fans have discovered and embraced ‘Fast Car.'”
The song “Fast Car” tells a poignant story of a woman striving to escape poverty and homelessness. In the current week, the song holds the No. 2 position on the Billboard Hot 100, four places higher than Chapman’s original rendition.
Combs, who holds a deep connection to Chapman’s version, made it a priority to stay true to her rendition. He reminisced about hearing “Fast Car” in his father’s truck during his earliest memories. In an interview with Kelleigh Bannen on Today’s Country Radio, Combs revealed that “Fast Car” was his first favorite song.
Combs shared a personal connection to the song, recalling how he and his father used to ride around in a truck with a cassette player. He even possesses the original cassette, which his father gave him a few years ago.
Out of deep respect for the original song, Combs chose not to alter Chapman’s lyrics to suit a male singer.
“I wanted to be extremely respectful of the original song,” Combs explained. “That’s why in the song, it’s ‘work in the market as a checkout girl.’ I didn’t change that in my version. I really wanted to stay true to the original version of the song.”
Combs deliberately avoided making the song his own because he aimed to bring attention to the original rendition.
“I think there are so many people who may know the song or find it familiar, but they don’t really know much about it,” he expressed to Bannen. “They’ve never really listened to it. When I recorded it, even the engineer asked me who I co-wrote the song with.”
“Fast Car” appears on Combs’ recent album “Gettin’ Old,” which was released on March 24.