Tracy Chapman makes country history with Combs’


Tracy Chapman is back on top with “Fast Car” — and she’s just as surprised as anyone else.

The four-time Grammy winner’s 1988 crossover hit has gotten rebooted into a country music chart-topper thanks to Luke Combs.

This week — 35 years after the song was originally released — “Fast Car” made its way to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making Chapman the first Black woman as a song’s sole writer to ever top the list. In June, the song also climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Songwriters chart.

Tracy Chapman is "honored" Luke Combs' cover of "Fast Car" is making country music history.

“I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there,” the dreadlocked hitmaker told Billboard. “I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.’”

And she should be. Billboard estimates that the remake has generated at least $500,000 in global publishing royalties. The 59-year-old Cleveland native owns both the writers’ and publisher’s share of the song.

With “Fast Car,” Combs made it to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, surpassing Chapman’s No. 6 peak in 1988. The six-time CMA winner’s version has also became a staple during his live performances and is a stand-out track from his fourth studio opus, “Gettin’ Old,” released in March of this year.

“‘Fast Car’ has always meant a lot to me,” he shared on Instagram in May. “This is why I wanted to record it.”

The 33-year-old Charlotte native explained that he became familiar with the tune from listening to it in his father’s 1988 Ford F-150 cassette player.

“There was this one song that really stuck out to me … That song meant a lot to me since then — for my whole life. I always think about my dad when it comes on and us spending time together.”

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