Tracy Chapman Makes Rare Public Appearance To Perform ‘Fast Car’ With Luke Combs

This performance will undoubtedly go down in GRAMMYs history!

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 4, 2024

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Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Luke Combs and Tracy Chapman teamed up for a performance of “Fast Car” that will, without a doubt, go down in history as one of the most memorable GRAMMY Awards performances of all time. 

An Epic Performance

Chapman made a rare public appearance to perform alongside the country superstar on Sunday evening during the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Their performance was one of the most buzzed-about moments of the evening and even had superstars like Taylor Swift, Jelly Roll, and more on their feet singing along from the audience.   

Throughout their performance, the singer/songwriters were all smiles as they traded verses of “Fast Car.”  

At the end of their performance, Combs directed his attention to Chapman and showed his reverence by bowing down to the iconic musician.

Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

A Special On-Stage Reunion

This history-making performance was a special one as Chapman reunited with the musicians who played on the original recording of “Fast Car,” including drummer Denny Fongheiser, bassist Larry Klein, as well as her longtime band members Larry Campbell (fiddle) and Joe Gore (guitar). Chapman and Combs were also joined by Combs’ band member, Kurt Ozan (pedal steel).

Alongside creating history, the performance represented a noteworthy moment, taking place exactly 35 years after Chapman’s first rendition of “Fast Car” at the GRAMMYs. The track enjoyed a revival, captivating a new audience, dominating charts in different music genres, and accumulating tens of millions of streams.

Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

The performance signified Chapman’s return to the public stage after a prolonged absence, with only three recorded performances since her 2009 tour.

A Timeless Song

Fast Car” was written by Chapman and released in 1988. Since the release of the song, it has become one of the most influential and beloved songs of all time. 

Combs felt compelled to record a rendition of “Fast Car” because his father used to play the song during their car rides when he was a child, making it his favorite tune.

“[It’s] my first favorite song, probably ever. I remember listening to that song with my dad in his truck when I was probably four years old,” Combs recalled of his connection to the track in a press release. “He had a cassette, a tape of it, and we had this old brown camper top F-150.”

Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

“We rode around that thing, and he had a tape cassette player in there, and I have the original cassette — my dad brought it to me a couple of years ago… I have the one, and I have it in my shop,” he continued. “The only music I have in my shop is a cassette player. I love to go to antique stores, and just you can get a bunch of cassette tapes for 50 cents, and some of the best records of all time are on cassette.”

The song was such a hit that it quickly became Combs’ 16th career No. 1 at Country radio. The success of Combs’ cover has also meant success for Tracy Chapman, who is the sole writer of “Fast Car.” With Combs’ rendition of her 1988 hit going No. 1, Tracy Chapman also achieved a historic milestone as the first Black woman to solely write a song that reached the top of the country charts.

Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards; Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Combs’ “Fast Car” cover took home two awards at the 2023 CMA Awards, including Single Of The Year and Song Of The Year. It was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance for the GRAMMYs.

The country hitmaker has performed the song during his live shows for over a decade before he decided to record his own version of the song last spring, 35 years after the original debut of the song. 

About The Grammys

The 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards aired live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 4 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/5:00-8:30 PM, live PT) on the CBS Television Network. Hosted by Trevor Noah, Music’s Biggest Night is also available to be streamed live and on demand on Paramount+.*

The star-studded ceremony features performances by Burna Boy, Luke Combs, Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, Dua Lipa, Joni Mitchell, Olivia Rodrigo, Travis Scott, SZA and U2. 

Presenters included Christina Aguilera, Lenny Kravitz, Lionel Richie, Mark Ronson, Maluma, Kacey Musgraves, Meryl Streep, Samara Joy, Taylor Tomlinson, and Oprah Winfrey.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.