Luke Combs Talks About Why He Didn’t Change “Checkout Girl” Lyric For “Fast Car” Cover: “You Want To Just Be Mega Respectful”

Luke Combs country music
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Luke Combs is well on his way to a mainstream Top 40 multi-week #1 mega hit with his cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”

Included on his most recent album Gettin’ Old, the single has been an abolsute juggernaut at country radio, flying up the charts at an insane pace pretty much completely organically.

Luke did send the single to country radio, but actually sent it to Top 40 pop and Hot Adult Contemporary radio first after it started charting like crazy and putting up massive streaming numbers without any help from his label.

It actually recently surpassed Tracy’s peak at #6 with the original in 1988 and is sitting at #2 on the mainstream Billboard Top 40 chart, and on country radio, is now sitting at the #2 spot on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay chart (one of two country charts labels use to officially track their songs performance, along with Mediabase where he’s at #3).

Once it inevitably peaks at #1 on both charts, it will likely be the biggest hit of Luke’s career so far, which is saying a lot, because he already has over a dozen #1 hits to his name.

But one part of the song in particular has been catching fans attention, mostly because Luke chose to keep the lyric that says:

“You got a fast car
We go cruisin’, entertain ourselves
You still ain’t got a job
So I work in a market as a checkout girl”

And if you’re on the internet much at all, you’ve probably seen tons of memes and jokes about it, because let’s be honest, it does sound a little funny to hear a guy like Luke sing that line.

But there’s a good reason behind his decision to do so.

In an interview with Kelleigh Bannen on Today’s Country Radio recently, he talked about why he kept the original lyrics, saying he wanted to be “mega respectful” of the original song:

“You want to just be mega respectful of the original song. That’s why in that song, it’s, ‘work in the market as a checkout girl.’ I didn’t change that in my version. I really wanted to just do the original version of the song…

It’s weird because you’re doing a cover of it and you say, ‘I don’t want to make it my own, because I really just really want to shine a light on the original version and bring that,’ because I think there’s so many people that maybe know that song or it would be familiar to them, but they really don’t know anything about it.

They’ve never really listened to it. When I recorded this, literally the engineer in there asked me who I wrote that song with.”

And I definitely respect that.

Tracy’s original is perfect, and in addition, there are a lot of different rules on what you can do in covering someone’s song in the studio all the way to the promotion, so I’m sure that also made the decision that much easier knowing how many hoops they probably would’ve had to jump through otherwise.

Luke added that “Fast Car” was his “first favorite song,” so cutting an official cover in the studio was nostalgic for him if nothing else:

“I mean, ‘Fast Car’ probably my first favorite song probably ever. I think that song came out in ’88 or ’89… I was born in ’90.

And so I remember listening to that song with my dad in his truck when I was probably four. He had a cassette, a tape of it, and we had this old brown camper top F-150, wasn’t even four by four…

But we rode around in that thing, and he had a tape cassette player in there. And I have the original cassette — my dad brought it to me a couple years ago.”

And it looks like it should be come a Top 40 #1 hit either this week or next, as he’s currently sitting right behind his friend and fellow country superstar Morgan Wallen with his multi-week #1 “Last Night.”

It’s actually the first time since 1981 that two country songs are sitting at the #1 and #2 spots on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and like I said, stands to easily be the biggest hit of Luke’s career thus far when it’s all said and done.

I know I’ve had it on repeat since Gettin’ Old came out… there’s just somethin’ special about it.

“Fast Car”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock