Tracy Chapman continues to make history with her 1988 hit Fast Car after the tune won song of the year 35 years after its initial release.
The 59-year-old has fellow musician and country star Luke Combs to thank – his cover of the hit single prompted a resurgence in popularity for Chapman’s original track.
She was not present at Wednesday’s Country Music Awards at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, but the category’s presenter Sarah Evans read a message on Chapman’s behalf after the win.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight. It’s truly an honour for my song to be newly recognised after 35 years of it’s debut,” Chapman said.
“Wow. Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke (Combs) and to all of the fans of Fast Car.”
Combs’ cover went on to reach No 1 on the Country Airplay chart, making Chapman the first Black woman to top the chart since it came into existence in 1990.
Chapman, who is the sole writer of Fast Car, also reached No 1 on Billboard’s Country Songwriters chart after Combs’ cover.
“I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honoured to be there,” Chapman told Billboard in a statement at the time.
“I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced Fast Car.”
Combs also took home a CMA Award on Wednesday for his cover of the song in the single of the year category.
Fast Car was the first single off Chapman’s self-titled debut album, and it earned her a Grammy in 1989 for best female pop vocal performance as well as record and song of the year nominations.
She also won for best new artist and best contemporary folk album that year.
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