In a groundbreaking moment at the Country Music Association Awards (CMA) in Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023 Tracy Chapman was awarded ‘Song of the Year’ for her 1988 single, “Fast Car.” This historic win marks a significant milestone: Chapman is the first black songwriter to clinch this accolade since the CMAs began in 1967.
“Fast Car,” Chapman’s poignant ballad that touched hearts across the globe, peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart over three decades ago, according to NPR. The song’s initial release garnered three Grammy Award nominations, securing a win in the category of Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the singer-songwriter.
However, “Fast Car” experienced a revival in recent months when the talented singer Luke Combs paid homage to the timeless classic with his cover in April. Combs’ rendition ascended even higher, to the position of No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, earning him the Single of the Year award at this year’s CMAs.
Regrettably, Chapman was unable to grace the ceremony with her presence, but she expressed her gratitude through a heartfelt written statement.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight,” she conveyed. “It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized after 35 years of its debut. Thank you to the CMAs, and a special thanks to Luke and all the fans of ‘Fast Car.’”
During his acceptance speech for Single of the Year, Combs showered praise on “Fast Car” and its writer. He spoke passionately about the song’s profound impact on his life, describing it as his “first favorite song.”
First and foremost, I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time,” he shared with genuine appreciation. “Never intended for that – I just recorded it because I love this song so much. It’s meant so much to me throughout my entire life. It’s the first favorite song I ever had from the time I was four years old.”
Chapman has crafted a remarkable musical career marked by hits like “Give Me One Reason,” “Baby Can I Hold You” and “Crossroads.” She has earned 13 Grammy nominations and won four.