Last night, Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs took the Grammy Awards stage to perform a stunning duet of “Fast Car,” a song originally written and recorded by Chapman, but that both of them have found a ton of success with.
The fan reaction was extremely positive, and in my very humble opinion, it was easily the performance of the night. The admiration the two artists have for each other was apparent as Chapman looked genuinely happy to be there and kept smiling at Luke throughout the entire thing (and vice versa).
While maybe an unlikely duo in some aspects, they’re spectacular together, and it’s evident that an entirely new generation of fans are loving both versions of “Fast Car,” as Chapman’s original version of the song shot to the top of the U.S. iTunes chart after their performance last night (Luke’s previously went #1 at country radio and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100).
It’s the first time that’s ever happened, and while obviously iTunes wasn’t around when the song came out in April of 1988, it’s really cool to see it sitting at #1 there now, where it certainly deserves to be.
Chapman shared a post across her social media accounts calling it “crazy” to see her almost 36-year old song there:
Luke included his cover of “Fast Car” on his 2023 Gettin’ Old record, and it organically became a massive hit and juggernaut at country radio, flying up the country charts at an insane pace, so much so that his label actually sent it to Top 40 pop and Hot Adult Contemporary radio, as well.
Released in 1988, it was the lead single from Chapman’s 1988 self-titled debut studio album. At the 31st annual Grammy Awards in 1989, she won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Fast Car,” best contemporary folk album for Tracy Chapman and best new artist.
The song was nominated in the Best Country Solo Performance category this year, but Chris Stapleton ultimately took home that trophy for “White Horse.”
And actually, Chapman’s performance last night marked the first time she’d appeared live to sing for the first time in nine years, and it’s hard to put into words just how incredible it was.
She sounded exactly the same as she did on the original recording from 1988, and there was a palpable magic between them that I cannot get enough of.
Like Willie Nelson says, “If a song was ever good, it’s still good,” and this is an all-time great one that works in any decade, genre and always will. Congratulations to Tracy on a really amazing achievement with this song, and to both artists on pulling off what was one of the greatest Grammy performances of all time.
You can watch it here, and I’d highly recommend doing so: