Sales of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" soar 38,400% after Grammys performance

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Tracy Chapman performed her 1988 hit “Fast Car” for the first time in years at the Grammys on Sunday, sharing the stage with Luke Combs, who covered the song on a recent album. The surprise performance had an impact – sales of the original version spiked more than 38,000% after the Grammys, according to Billboard.

Chapman’s song made it back into the mainstream 35 after its original release when Combs included his own version on his 2023 album “Gettin’ Old.” The song even earned Chapman a Country Music Association award as Combs’ version won song of the year – making her the first Black songwriter to win the song of the year prize at the CMAs. She is the only person with a songwriting credit for the hit.

Chapman, who has kept private for years, wasn’t at the CMAs. But she decided to take the stage at the Grammys, which proved to be fruitful. 

“Fast Car” was streamed 949,000 times in the U.S. streams on Feb. 5, the day after the Grammys, according to Billboard. That’s a 241% increase in one week. Sales of Chapman’s song also soared 38,400% to 14,000.

Combs’ was streamed 1.6 million times over the same period, a 37% increase. It also saw a 3,900% increase in sales to just over 6,000.

Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs  at the 66th GRAMMY Awards
Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs on stage during the 66th GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 4, 2024 in Los Angeles.

John Shearer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


When Chapman’s song was originally released, it peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Combs released a live version of the song as a single in August 2023 that made it to the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. As of Friday, it sits at no. 20 on the Hot 100 chart.

Billboard says it’s not impossible for Chapman’s version to re-enter the chart. But catalog songs have to do extremely well – making into the top half of the chart – to be eligible for re-entrance, per Billboard’s rules. 

“Fast Car” was also popular when it was first released in 1988. Rolling Stone listed it as No. 165 on its list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list in 2004. It has has been covered by several artists – in 2015 alone, two house covers of the song were released by Tobtok and Jonas Blue, with the latter hitting No. 1 on the top 40 dance singles chart in the U.S. and No. 98 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

At the CMAs, Combs explained his love for the song. “I never intended, I just recorded it because I love this song so much, it’s meant so much to me throughout my entire life,” he said during his acceptance speech. “It’s the first favorite song I had from the time I was 4 years old.”

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