Luke Combs' 'Fast Car' Cover Pushes Tracy Chapman to Country Music History

She's the first Black female songwriter to hit No. 1 on Country Airplay chart
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2023 2:20 AM CDT
Tracy Chapman Makes Country Music History
Singer Tracy Chapman arrives at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Performance and Gala Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at the State Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Tracy Chapman is the first Black female songwriter to top Billboard's Country Airplay chart since it started in 1990—and the No. 1 spot is for a song she came out with two years before the chart even existed. "Fast Car" is, of course, experiencing quite a resurgence of popularity 35 years after its initial release, thanks to country star Luke Combs' recent cover of it, CNN reports. Chapman is also atop Billboard's Country Songwriters chart, since she wrote the song. ("How does a three-and-a-half decade old hit manage that? Well, in this case, a white man in a trucker hat decided to sing it," is the way Audra Heinrichs puts it at Jezebel.)

"I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I'm honored to be there," Chapman said in a statement to Billboard. "I'm happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced 'Fast Car.'" As for the regular charts, Chapman's Grammy-winning "Fast Car" made it to No. 6 on Billboard's Hot 100 back in 1988; Combs' version is currently at No. 2. And the popularity of the remake has also boosted the popularity of the original, with weekly consumption up 44% since Combs' cover came out. It's not the first remake; the song has also been covered by artists including Khalid, Black Pumas, Justin Bieber, Passenger, Sam Smith, and Jonas Blue feat. Dakota. (More Tracy Chapman stories.)

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