Watch Tracy Chapman sing with Luke Combs

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Tracy Chapman makes a triumphant return alongside the country star whose cover of “ Fast Car » introduced this classic to a new audience.

Nine years after her last live televised performance, Tracy Chapman made a rare appearance at the Grammy Awards to sing her 1988 hit ” Fast Car » with Luke Combs, the country star who brought the song to a new audience with his cover and who was nominated for a Grammy Award.

The performance began with a tight shot of Chapman’s hands playing his acoustic guitar, before the camera slowly lifted to reveal his face and a wide smile. Chapman belted out the first verse, before Combs, without a guitar, joined in with her own verse and a big smile.

It was an undeniably moving performance, for those on stage and those in the audience. The duo sang the final chorus together, before Combs handed over the final verse to the woman who wrote the song. The country star watched her intently before bowing to her when the song ended.

The interpretation of “ Fast Car “, which featured two of the musicians who played on the original studio recording (drummer Denny Fongheiser and bassist Larry Klein) took place 35 years to the day after Chapman first performed the song at the Grammys Awards in 1989.

The last time Tracy Chapman performed live on television was in 2015, when she sang ” Stand By Me » on the Late Show With David Letterman, during the host’s final series on CBS.

In 2020, Combs uploaded a video in which he performed a solo acoustic cover of ” Fast Car “. The rendition wowed his fans and he recorded a studio version which he included in his album Gettin’ Old in 2023. Released as a radio single in April of the same year, “ Fast Car ” exploded and reached number two on the Hot 100. It also became number one for several weeks on the Country Airplay chart on Billboardmaking Ms. Chapman the first black woman to be the sole songwriter of a number one country hit.

On stage Sunday evening in Los Angeles, Tracy Chapman did not speak and did not read any remarks. But she didn’t need it: her appearance alone – and her smile – spoke volumes.


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.