Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ Scores CMA Award More Than 35 Years After Release

Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ Scores CMA Award More Than 35 Years After Release

More than 35 years after the release of Fast Car, Tracy Chapman’s hit track has helped the singer and songwriter her first-ever CMA. 

Chapman’s Fast Car won Song of the Year during the CMAs on Wednesday (Nov. 8) at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Although Chapman wasn’t able to attend the award show, the category’s presenter, Sarah Evans, read a message from the singer. 

“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight,” Tracy Chapman wrote. “It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized after 35 years of its debut. Wow. Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke [Combs] and to all of the fans of Fast Car.”

Chapman’s hit received a resurgence in popularity over the past few months due to Combs releasing his cover of the track in July. The cover quickly reached No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart. This made Chapman the first black woman to top that chart since its debut in 1990. The song also reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Songwriters chart. 

Following the release of Combs’ cover and the rise in its success, Tracy Chapman released a statement and said she never expected to find herself on the country charts, she’s honored to be there. “I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced Fast Car.”

Combs went on to receive a CMA for his Fast Car cover in the Single of the Year category. 

Fast Car was released in 1988 and was Chapman’s self-titled debut album. The track earned her the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy in 1989. The song also got Chapman 1989 Grammy nominations for record and song of the year as well. 

Tracy Chapman Once Revealed the Meaning Behind ‘Fast Car’ 

During a 2010 interview with BBC Radio, Tracy Chapman spoke about the true meaning behind her hit track Fast Car. She noted the song played a significant role in shaping her first record as well as the public’s perception of her as a singer/songwriter.

Chapman further explained Fast Car was about how she saw the world when she was growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. She said during her childhood was raised by a single mom in a community that was struggling. “[Everyone was] working hard [and] hoping that things would get better.”

Reflecting on the night she wrote the song in 1986, Chapman stated, “I had a small dog, a Miniature Dachshund, and the dog was staying up with me. She didn’t always stay up if I stayed up late, I think she was sitting on the couch right next to me when I first started writing the music and the first few lyrics, I think the first part of the Sogn that came to me was the first line ‘You’ve got a fast car…’”

The moment she declared the first line, Tracy Chapman recalled the dog’s ears perking up. And so the musician continued to write the song.