In a thrilling Grammys moment on Sunday night, Tracy Chapman, an iconic artist who had taken a step back from the limelight, made a triumphant return to the awards stage. The 59-year-old artist, renowned for her string of albums from 1988 to 2008, marked her comeback with a spectacular performance at the Grammys.
Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut album, featuring hits like “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution,” “Baby Can I Hold You,” and the timeless “Fast Car,” earned her the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1989. “Fast Car” was also nominated for both Record and Song of the Year.
While “Fast Car” has maintained its popularity over the years, Luke Combs, a rising country star, gave it a fresh twist with his cover, turning it into a hit last year. The collaboration of Chapman and Combs on stage for the first time added a new chapter to the song’s legacy.
During the Grammys performance in Los Angeles, Chapman kicked off the duet by playing the song’s iconic riff on her acoustic guitar. The duo exchanged verses before harmonizing on the chorus. The audience, including Taylor Swift, joined in singing along, creating an unforgettable moment. As the performance concluded, Combs bowed to Swift, and they received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Luke Combs’s rendition of “Fast Car” had reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 as a single from his 2023 album, “Gettin’ Old.” Although it was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the Grammys (ultimately losing to Chris Stapleton’s “White Horse”), the cover surprisingly missed a nod for Record of the Year.
Tracy Chapman, known for her low public profile since her last tour in 2009, has occasionally graced late-night shows. Luke Combs’s authentic take on Chapman’s classic anthem has resonated across generations. Thanks to his cover, Chapman made history by winning Song of the Year at the Country Music Awards in November, becoming the first Black songwriter to achieve this honor.
In a statement, Chapman expressed gratitude for the renewed recognition of her song after 35 years, apologizing for not attending the country awards ceremony in Nashville.
Combs, in his C.M.A.s acceptance speech, described “Fast Car” as “one of the best songs of all time” and recorded it out of pure love for the song that meant so much to him throughout his life.
“Fast Car” originally hit No. 6 on the Hot 100 in 1988, earning Chapman three Grammy nominations, with a win for Best Female Pop Vocalist in 1989. The song has been a favorite in Combs’s live shows, and the opportunity to perform it with Tracy Chapman was eagerly anticipated by both artists.
In a Billboard interview, Chapman expressed happiness for Luke Combs’s success and thanked new fans for embracing “Fast Car.” The Grammys’ stage saw a magical collaboration, reminding everyone why Chapman’s timeless hit continues to captivate audiences across generations.