Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs did an iconic duet of ‘Fast Car’ on the Grammys

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Last year, Luke Combs got to #1 on the country music charts with his cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” His cover became a crossover hit as well – pop stations still play his cover constantly, and I’d say he helped new audiences and younger audiences learn about Tracy Chapman. Last year, Tracy even made a very rare public statement, congratulating Luke on his success with her song. Last week, we heard that Tracy would leave her house and actually perform at the Grammys, her first live performance in over a decade. Well, it happened. And it was SO well-done.

The only bad thing I have to say about this is that it came so early in the Grammy telecast that no one paid attention to what came afterwards for like an hour. It was wonderful! There was some drama and angst about Luke covering “Fast Car” before last night, like why did he do it, why is trying to countrify Tracy’s iconic song, etc, but you could see that he was just in awe of her, in awe of being on stage with her. He treated Tracy and her music with the utmost respect and his cover earned Tracy a lot of money (because she owns the publishing rights). The way the audience reacted too, it was so special. People were so excited to see her at the venue, and they got a massive standing ovation after the performance. You know what? The duet actually sounded good too. They harmonized with each other very well.

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76 Responses to “Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs did an iconic duet of ‘Fast Car’ on the Grammys”

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  1. CityGirl says:

    By far the best moment of the night!

    • Cessily says:

      By far.. I sobbed😭. I read her she has had massive increase in traffic of people downloading her original version of the song, Introducing a new audience to her music is a beautiful thing.🎶🎼🎵

      • Christine says:

        I sobbed too, and then became the person who Kaiser talked about not paying attention to the rest of the awards. I played it on a loop, my son eventually asked me if I was a okay. No, I am really not.

      • terra says:

        Me three! The tears started as soon as I saw the tears shimmering in Tracy’s eyes.

        I was one of the people that was skeptical of Combs’ cover and I still think he’s pretty mid (although props to him for not changing the gender references in the lyrics – I hate when people do that when they cover songs), but the way he was genuinely in awe of her as they performed together, mouthing the words along with her as she sang, how HAPPY he seemed to be sharing a stage with her . . . that alone gives me some respect for him, as Tracy Chapman is one of my all-time favorites and deserves ALL the respect a person has to give.

        I’ve said for a few years now that Tracy was the Joan Armatrading of her generation and that Janelle Monae seems to be occupying the spot for ours: spectacular black, female, LGBTQ+ artists who don’t get nearly their due for virtue of being black, female, and LGBTQ+. That Monae is just famous and not a superstar is a crime. I liked Golden Hour by Kasey Musgraves (even though her previous work was superior, IMO), but Dirty Computer was ROBBED.

    • Rainbow Kitty says:


    • TRex says:

      Agreed. I had tears in my eyes at the end.

    • Deborah says:

      I still cannot watch this without smiling and weeping at the same time. Just Beautiful.

    • ariel says:

      I cried. I remember seeing that on the dial mtv countdown (precursor to trl) when it came out.
      The greatness of that song is undeniable.
      And the ovation she got she the audience saw her- then it got louder as they started to sing. And artists in the audience were singing it back to her (not just Taylor). It was a lovely moment.
      And she sounded phenomenal.

      And i love that she owns the publishing.

      • BQM says:

        @christine @blue nails betty Same from this Gen X’er! It was great to see her performing. She looked great, sounded fabulous. I think she looks even better now than 30+ years ago! I’ve loved how respectful he’s been of her, her classy response , that it’s brought her and the song renewed attention AND the fact that she’s making a nice hunk of change from it. You could tell she was really touched by the response and also his behavior towards her. She did a little fist on her chest at him. Sweet. And the duet was amazing! They harmonized so well that you’d think they’d been doing it forever. The arrangement was great.

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      @Christine SAME! My little GenX heart watched it over and over and cried the whole time. I don’t know why but it hit every feel I’ve got.

      Tracy is a legend and her songs hit square in the heart. Watching her come out and perform her song of quiet desperation with a simple performance that didn’t allow for the words to be overshadowed took me back to a time when this song was a lifeline for me.

      And I love that Luke happily sang back up to Tracy. That man can BELT OUT songs but he stayed in his lane and helped keep the focus on Tracy and her amazing songwriting.

      I would love to have this duet as a download. Tracy and Luke harmonize beautifully.

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        It hits my feels for so many reasons. Gave birth to my daughter in 1987. Her biological father messed with my head a lot. Fast Car came out in 1988. He did everything to not be the bad guy. Though he was. Played this song a lot.

        Our(DH will always be her true father)/my daughter, needed to leave a few years ago. She said, “I need to leave behind the messed up things I did. So many things I had in my life were because of you.”. I need to create a life outside of you-where you’re not helping me. Because you both did the same thing. Even though all had good parents. We needed to separate ourselves from our parents to grow.”. D*mn. Schooled.

        Daughter sings this song very well. Not better than Tracy Chapman. Who looks completely amazing. Love this duet. Combs seems to understand the power of Tracy Chapman and this song as a whole. I’ll admit. Still listen to the radio. And both versions are played. Fast Car comes on and I want to keep on driving.
        The OG.

  2. Alarmjaguar says:

    This made me tear up last night. She’s so incredible and I was so happy for her. And thank you for posting it, Kaiser, because I hadn’t actually watched the show.

    • Louisa says:

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was welling up! I can’t explain it, but this made me so emotional. The original is one of my favorite songs and I was not happy about a country singer doing a cover… until I heard it. I loved it. So to see her last night, and to see Combs show such respect to both her and the song… just beautiful.

  3. Laalaa says:

    This was so beautiful, she is just pure.

    • VoominVava says:

      She is lovely. I remember watching her sing the song when it came out (I was 14) and being in awe of her serene beauty and it happened all over again last night. One of the most amazing iconic songs. I have not listened to the cover still, and didn’t love that a country guy countrified it as Kaiser said, but I warmed up to him when I saw that he actually has a lovely voice, and he seemed to be aware of how huge that moment was.

      • Nibbi says:

        Made me emo too. Took me back to high school and college years, old friends, roomies, a different time in my life, but the song – and Tracy – remains as beautiful and pure as ever. I appreciated that the country guy respected her that much and brought this song back out & this moment to us. Was for sure the high point of the night.

  4. Jais says:

    Chills. The way Tracy smiles as everyone in the room loses it at just seeing her. She looked and sounded amazing. Luke was cute in how he literally mouthed the words as she was singing. Such a legend. Also recommend the promise by Tracy.

  5. My three words for this Respect Magic Historic!!!

  6. Becks1 says:

    I didn’t watch the Grammys, but as soon as this video hit social media I just kept watching it. Fast Car is one of my all time favorite songs (I probably listen to it once a week) and I loved Luke combs’ version. I was wary when I first heard about his cover, but it really was a good cover, and I love how much respect he clearly has for the original song and for Tracy.

    Great Grammy moment.

  7. Jan says:

    Tracy’s face my goodness!
    Great pairing.

  8. SAS says:

    Jesus, how does her voice sound even better than ever. She’s magnificent.

    I’m in a non-American, non-country music bubble so I’ve never heard of Luke or his cover but happy he seems to honour the legend that is Tracy. What a gift to watch.

  9. Tulipworthy says:

    That was awesome!

  10. Rachel says:

    It was beautiful and she was beautiful and her voice was amazing. I’ve loved TC since I was a teen in the 80’s. I’m glad she performed last night with LC. Because when I heard he covered Fast Car, I was like, “How dare you???”. Never heard of Luke until the cover btw.

    • H says:

      I’ve been a fan of Tracy since Fast Car originally came out. I drove to Philadelphia to see her perform at a Amnesty International concert back in the day. She’s always been amazing.

      I thought the same thing about the Luke Combs cover, but now that I see them on stage together I can see how much he loves Tracy’s music.

      I just hope she considers going on tour again.

      • Rachel says:

        Lucky you, re: seeing TC ! The performance was very emosh for me. He looked like he really admires TC.

  11. Lauren says:

    This performance gave me chills when I watched it last night. One of the best Grammy moments in recent memory!

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      Agree. When Combs did the hands gesture at the end. Dude gets it. Outside of her gray hairs, Chapman looks much younger,imo, of many others in the industry.

  12. Roo says:

    It was magical and pure and lovely. You can see how much he admires her and truly loves the song, and she has the most beautiful, shy smile. It was the most special moment of the Grammys.

  13. Wilma says:

    I love that song (and album) so much! I listen to it almost daily on my commute. And I’m so happy that Luke Combs shows deep respect for Tracy. She truly deserves all the accolades as she is an amazing songwriter.

  14. JTh says:

    I couldn’t find a stream for the Grammy’s, so I searched for replay clips asap! It’s great that Tracy got to see how much her peers love and miss her!

  15. Seraphina says:

    Her smile right as she began – was everything! And well done on the duet. I teared up too seeing her smile.

  16. lamejudi says:

    I saw Tracy Chapman live about 25 years ago. She opened for Sting!

    I’m so happy that this amazing song is having this revival now, and that Combs wants to honor and spotlight TC’s talent. Shivers when I hear the opening chords. Sharing the video with my 23-year-old son!

  17. Eurydice says:

    Perfect, just perfect.

  18. Mia4s says:

    “Iconic” is an overused word, but it fits here. Beautiful duet and performance.

    And maybe this can all be a reminder for everyone to take a breath before going the outrage route on a cover song? Ms.Chapman made a ton of cash on this and after the performance last night her debut album was at the top(!) of the iTunes Charts. That’s an entire generation who hadn’t the first clue who she was, discovering her. Not all covers are a good thing or a good idea, but this turned out brilliantly for her (and for Luke).

    • BQM says:

      We’re such a divided country that it’s nice to have a moment that demonstrates our common humanity. These two who are so different on paper but who found this song resonated for both of them. And it meant Tracy became the first block woman to score a country solo single.

      And compare his reverence and respect with Nicki Minaj’s opposite. Tracy had to take her to court after being repeatedly ignored when she denied permission to sample one of her songs. They finally settled.

  19. KeKe Swan says:

    And she looked so effortlessly beautiful. Take notes overdressed wannabes.

  20. Jensa says:

    This was definitely the high point of the evening for me.
    And she looks amazing!

  21. carrotface says:

    With Tracy Chapman, Annie Lenox, AND Joni Mitchell all performing and then the appearance by Celine at the end, I was really up in my feels. I usually don’t bother to watch more than the first award or two as I’m more of an indie fan but I was really moved by the amazing performances by and these older women getting recognition.

  22. BeanieBean says:

    Oh, how I cried! This song always gets to me, I get caught up in the story & memories & what ifs, but last night watching this, it just slayed me. This is music!

  23. K says:

    My god. I thought I was ready. No I was NOT. My heart . I was absolutely blubbering. I wish she would announce some tour dates even in small venues.

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      No one was ready for this. And I agree with Kaiser, the production team should have made this the ending performance. I suspect they didn’t realize the impact it would have and didn’t think it was big enough to close the show.

      This quiet little performance overshadowed all the other performances. Imagine of it had been the last performance.

  24. Louise177 says:

    It’s funny to me when people say Luke gave Tracy’s version popularity. At least on my radio stations Fast Car is still on heavy rotation on AC and Hot AC stations. But then again am I the only person who still listens to the radio?

    • Slush says:

      I don’t think anyone means to imply that he made it popular for the first time- but he absolutely brought it back to mainstream popularity last year.

    • TIFFANY says:

      But there is definitely a generation of folks who didn’t know this was a remake. And considering traffic went up tenfold after learning it, a new generation know Tracy and her music.

  25. Slush says:

    I hope this puts to rest some of the angst about the cover.

    She clearly likes it or at least respects it and Luke. She’s famously reclusive and she didn’t have to do this.

    • BQM says:

      She had issued a statement saying that she was honored to be on the country charts and happy for his success and people finding the song anew.

      She became the first black woman to win a CMA award and the first black songwriter to win Song of the Year.

  26. Lightpurple says:

    I turned on the Grammys just as this started and was transported back to seeing her busking in Harvard Square , such presence and talent. So happy for her renewed success

  27. TIFFANY says:

    Now I want Tracy to come out with some new music and she and Luke do an original song together because they really sound fantastic.

    And Tracy is still absolutely stunning. A little gray in her hair, but she looks the same as she did 30 years ago.

  28. Beech says:

    This, all of this.

  29. QuiteContrary says:

    We were getting all annoyed in our living room when Luke Combs came on — like the audacity to cover this Tracy Chapman classic!

    But by the end of his performance with Tracy we had been won over. He truly did look awestruck to be singing with her, as he should have been, because she’s amazing.

    Overall, I thought it was the best awards show I’d ever seen.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      Genuine question. Not being an A$$hole. Trying to understand or be educated. When Combs came out with his version of Fast Car-I wasn’t annoyed. He was respectful to TC. It was the MAGAlites that had a problem. I’m not aware of anything Combs did that would make him a problem. He didn’t try taking credit for an amazing song by an amazing artist. I might be wrong, but, Combs didn’t shy away from his inspo. Might have missed something. Watching that video…dude has respect for Tracy. And. if he didn’t. I would happily slap him upside his mouth. Feeling crotchety today .

  30. Merrie says:

    When today’s artists respectfully cover songs of another era, it’s amazing because the original artists sees an increase of interest in their music and respect for their from a new generation. I will never look down on artists covering another performer’s song for this very reason. Check out Ms. Chapman’s cover of “Stand By Me.” Chills. Literal chills.

    Seeing Tracy Chapman perform live, realizing how much she is loved by her fellow musicians, was truly beautiful. I will have The Best of Tracy Chapman on repeat as I work today.

  31. UpIn Toronto says:

    The day feels better having watched this performance 🙂

  32. Chaine says:

    I was a little skeptical about this as a duet but it worked beautifully. As others have said, brought tears to my eyes.

  33. Lilly (with the double-L) says:

    Thanks for posting this here too. I cried my eyes out and I’m grateful for beauty in the world and reminders that it exists.

  34. maisie says:


    Loved how they panned to some of the lesbian couples in the audience during the song. Was that Kristen and Dylan the first time?

  35. JaneS says:

    Tracy Chapman. Looks and sounds great. Her beautiful smile. ❤️

    I lost track of her after Fast Car was an MTV staple.
    I hope that song made her wealthy af, and she went on to be successful in her career.
    (I’m VHForever in music) so I don’t know.

    • Maureen says:

      She had one more super famous song, “Give Me One Reason.” You’ve probably heard it at one point or another as it was EVERYWHERE for years.

      But her best song is forever and always “The Promise.” You want a break up song, that is the break up song.

      • Renee says:

        Anyone who hasn’t checked out the live version of her song “Smoke and Ashes” is missing out. A flawless performance of a gorgeous song. The entire New Beginning album is stellar.

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        Thank you @Renee for the suggestion. Will go and listen.

        someone in the comments mentioned The Promise. OMG, dead. Beautiful song. Bawled my eyes out when I read they had it for their mother’s funeral song.

  36. Beverley says:

    Tracy Chapman has aged like a fine wine. This performance was sheer perfection.

  37. Feeshalori says:

    I didn’t watch the Grammys, but saw the clip here of the duet. I was so blown away to see Tracy Chapman again and how beautiful a woman she is and how kind the years have been to her. I haven’t kept up with her music and never heard of Luke Combs before (will have to check out his cover) but this performance brought tears to my old eyes. It’s such a beautiful, powerful song and it brought back all the feels and shivers for me. I will say that it is an iconic song and up there for me along with Harry Chapin’s Cat in the Cradle. I’m so happy that her original has hit number one on iTunes, and she deserves all this recognition to a new generation.

  38. BQM says:

    Just a side note—it wasn’t her first performance since 2007. She performed Talkin’ About a Revolution on Seth Meyers ahead of the 2020 election.

  39. Lisa says:

    Best part of the night

  40. J.Ferber says:

    EPIC! Goddamn! This is one of the worst times of my life and I SO LOOOOOOOOOOOVED this performance. Thank you, Tracy and Luke. You made my day. I always wondered why Tracy didn’t blow up and become a superstar and I still don’t know why. Amazing.

    • aftershocks says:

      Absolutely iconic! I adore Tracy Chapman. It’s so great seeing her again. “I had a feelin’ I could be someone, be someone, be someone…” 🥹

      @J.Ferber, maybe Tracy Chapman, “didn’t blow up and become a superstar,” because she was more comfortable simply being herself, without the overdone OTT hype, tensions, complications, fandom fixations, and ultimate emptiness of super-stardom.

      Note: IMO, there’s absolutely a difference between what Tracy means in the song’s lyrics, i.e., “I had a feelin’ I could be someone,” and the overwrought surreality of stardom/ intense fame.

  41. Sue Denim says:

    I remember seeing her play this in Harvard Square before she became famous, just her and her guitar, and that voice, the crowds were so deep they blocked traffic. We knew she would be someone. Such beauty and power. A true artist.

  42. Estelle says:

    What a beautiful soul – she radiates all that is good in this world. Brings tears to my eyes.