Tracy Chapman Wins Song of the Year at the CMAs for 'Fast Car,' 35 Years After Its Original Release

This follows the success of Luke Combs' cover of the song.

Tracy Chapman attends the Beverly Hills Bar Association's Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Dinner at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 16, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Image credit: Getty)

Tracy Chapman has just won a prestigious award for a song she released in 1988.

"Fast Car" has enjoyed renewed success following country singer Luke Combs' cover of it. The iconic track was awarded the Song of the Year award at the 2023 CMAs, which were held on Nov. 8, and as its songwriter, Chapman ended up being the rightful honoree.

"I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight," Chapman said in a statement read by presenter Sara Evans. "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 of the fans of 'Fast Car.'"

Combs himself also won Single of the Year for his re-release of "Fast Car," and thanked Chapman in his speech.

"First and foremost, I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time," he told the audience.

"Never intended—I just recorded it because I love the song so much, it's meant so much to me throughout my entire life. It's the first favorite song that I ever had from the time I was four years old.

Back in July, Chapman told Billboard in a statement, "I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there. I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced 'Fast Car.'"

This statement came after Combs' version reached number one on Country Airplay, and on Billboard‘s Country Songwriters chart.

Reacting to Chapman's statement a couple weeks later, Combs told Billboard, "Oh man, 'Fast Car' has surprised me more than you can imagine. Tracy Chapman wrote this perfect song that that I first heard with my dad and it has stayed with me since."

He continued, "I have played it in my live show now for six-plus years and everyone—I mean everyone—across all these stadiums relates to this song and sings along. That’s the gift of a supernatural song writer.

"The success of my cover is unreal and I think it’s so cool that Tracy is getting recognized and has reached new milestones. I love that she is out there feeling all the love and that she gave me a shout-out! Thank you, Tracy!"

Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.