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Tracy Chapman On Her Lesbian Anthem 'Fast Car' Becoming A Country Hit

Tracy Chapman On Her Lesbian Anthem 'Fast Car' Becoming A Country Hit​

Luke Combs; Tracy Chapman
Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock; Jarrod Harris/Getty Images

Country singer Luke Combs' cover of the pop-folk tune became a hit and Champman couldn't be happier.

Tracy Chapman has kept a lower profile in recent years, but a new cover of her Grammy-winning hit “Fast Car” has thrust her back into the limelight.

Country star Luke Combs recently released a faithful cover of her 1988 hit song and it’s become a country-chart topper, hitting No. 1 on this week’s Billboard’s Country Airplay charts.

When “Fast Car” hit the airwaves back in the late ‘80s it quickly became a lesbian anthem and was loved for its working-class themes and lyrics about escaping to find a better life.

Now, Combs has breathed new life into the song by including his cover of the folk-pop tune on his fourth studio album Gettin’ Old. The success of the “Love You Anyway” singer’s version makes Chapman the first black woman as the sole writer to top the Country Airplay chart since its inception in 1990.

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

Luke Combs at the 2018 CMA Fest.

Shutterstock

Chapman’s original song peaked in 1988 at No. 6. On the Billboard Hot 100, but Combs’ version earned a No. 2 spot this week.

Though she’s an incredibly private person, the upside to having her song barreling onto the charts again is that Billboard estimates Chapman has already earned approximately $500,000 in publishing royalties since Combs’ album was released in March.

“Fast Car” was the first single released for her eponymous debut album which reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and also gave her another hit song with “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution.”

Her first album was a critical success winning her Best Pop Vocals, Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Best New Artist at the Grammys in 1989.

Earlier this year Combs took to Instagram to post a clip from a connect in Pittsburg where he talked about driving around in his dad’s 1988 Ford F-150 listening to music on the cassette player.

“There was this one song that really stuck out to me. It was called ‘Fast Car,’ ” Combs told the crowd while on stage. “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.”

Combs later posted a photo of the well-worn cassette tape of Chapman’s album that he owned when he was a kid.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.