Tracy Chapman Performs “Fast Car” with Luke Combs at 66th Grammy Award Ceremony

By Stu Kelly / February 5, 2024

Tracy Chapman took the stage at the 66th Grammy Awards, marking her first live television performance in nine years. The iconic singer-songwriter joined forces with country sensation Luke Combs to deliver a powerful rendition of her 1988 classic song, “Fast Car.”

Luke Combs, who had previously covered the song on his 2023 album Gettin’ Old, introduced a new generation to Chapman’s timeless masterpiece. The cover earned Combs a Grammy nomination and became a chart-topping success, reaching Number Two on the Hot 100 and securing a multi-week Number One spot on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. This accomplishment made Chapman the first Black woman to have a sole songwriting credit on a Number One country hit.

The Grammy performance of “Fast Car” was a nostalgic and heartwarming moment for fans, as Chapman and Combs flawlessly delivered the song’s final chorus together. Combs gracefully handed over the last verse to Chapman, the original songwriter, who mesmerized the audience with her soulful vocals and poignant lyrics. The country star watched in awe, mouthing the words under his breath, and bowed to Chapman as the song reached its emotional conclusion.

What made the performance even more special was the inclusion of two musicians who played on the original studio recording of “Fast Car” – drummer Denny Fongheiser and bassist Larry Klein. The reunion of these talented individuals added an extra layer of authenticity to the rendition, celebrating the 35th anniversary of Chapman’s first performance of the song at the Grammy Awards in 1989.

Chapman’s last live television performance was in 2015 when she sang “Stand By Me” on the Late Show With David Letterman. Since then, the singer has maintained a low profile, making her appearance at the 2024 Grammys a rare and memorable event.

In a video before the performance, Luke Combs expressed his admiration for Tracy Chapman, calling her an “icon” and one of the greatest artists of their time. He described the moment as a “full circle” experience and expressed humility at being associated with such a legendary figure in the music industry.

Tracy Chapman, who won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1989 for “Fast Car,” received nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The 66th Grammy Awards, hosted by Trevor Noah at Los Angeles’ Arena, will undoubtedly be remembered for this extraordinary collaboration between two artists bridging generations through the magic of music.

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Stu Kelly