Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” returns to Hot 100 35 years after release

Tracy Chapman performs “Fast Car” at the 2024 Grammys. Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images.


Tracy Chapman’s classic folk song “Fast Car” has re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 42, the track’s first time on the chart since the year of its release. Arriving in April 1988 as the lead single from Chapman’s self-titled debut LP, “Fast Car” became a top-10 U.S. hit following her performance of the song at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute concert in London that June.

The commercial renaissance of “Fast Car” follows a 2023 Luke Combs cover of the song that charted higher than the original had and became the all-time most successful country cover of a “pop hit,” in terms of radio airplay dominance. Following the cover’s release, the original surged to 16th on the U.S. Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart and was named Song of the Year at the Country Music Awards despite the three-and-half decades that had passed since its initial recording.

Tracy Chapman was a surprise guest during Luke Combs’s performance of “Fast Car” at the 2024 Grammys last Sunday (February 4). Together, they played a hybrid version of Chapman’s original and Combs’s relatively faithful rendition. Since that night, overall sales of the song have reportedly increased by a staggering 38,000 percent.