Fast Car

Last updated
"Fast Car"
Fastcar tchapman.jpg
Single by Tracy Chapman
from the album Tracy Chapman
B-side "For You"
ReleasedApril 6, 1988
Recorded1987
Genre
Length4:57 (album)
4:26 (single/video)
Label Elektra
Songwriter(s) Tracy Chapman
Producer(s) David Kershenbaum
Tracy Chapman singles chronology
"Fast Car"
(1988)
"Talkin' 'bout a Revolution"
(1988)
Audio sample
"Fast Car"

"Fast Car" is a song written and recorded by American singer Tracy Chapman. It was released on April 6, 1988 as the lead single from her 1988 self-titled debut studio album. Her appearance on the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute was the catalyst for the song's becoming a top-ten hit in the United States, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100. In the United Kingdom, it peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart. "Fast Car" received two Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, as well as an MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Female Video in 1989.

Contents

Music and lyrics

According to Metro Weekly critic Chris Gerard, "Fast Car" tells a grittily realistic story of a working poor woman trying to escape the cycle of poverty, set to folk rock music. [1] The song's arrangement was described by Orlando Sentinel writer Thom Duffy as "subtle folk-rock", [2] while Billboard magazine's Gary Trust deemed the record a "folk/pop" song. [3] Dave Marsh said it was perhaps an "optimistic folk-rock narrative", whose characters are in a homeless shelter. [4]

Critical reception

Rolling Stone ranked the song number 167 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. [5] It is Chapman's only song on the list (and the highest ranking song performed and solely written by a female artist). Pitchfork placed the song at number 86 on their list of the 200 Best Songs of the 1980s. [6]

Chart performance

In April 2011 the track entered the UK top ten for the second time at number 4 after Michael Collings performed it on Britain's Got Talent . [7] The single was certified Platinum in the United Kingdom by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in 2014, based on digital downloads and streaming. The song has sold 661,500 copies in the United Kingdom, as of January 2016. [8]

Charts and certifications

Jonas Blue version

"Fast Car"
Jonas Blue - Fast Car.jpg
Single by Jonas Blue featuring Dakota
from the album Blue
Released4 December 2015 [33]
Recorded2015
Genre Tropical house [34] [35]
Length3:32
Label
Songwriter(s) Tracy Chapman
Producer(s) Jonas Blue
Jonas Blue singles chronology
"Fast Car"
(2015)
"Perfect Strangers"
(2016)
Dakota singles chronology
"Fast Car"
(2015)
"Dreams"
(2017)

In 2015, a tropical house cover of "Fast Car" was released by British record producer Jonas Blue. It is Blue's debut single and features the vocals from British singer Dakota. [36] It is the lead single of Blue's debut album Blue . The Club Mix was included on Blue's compilation, Jonas Blue: Electronic Nature – The Mix 2017 .

Background and inspiration

In an interview with iHeartRadio, Blue stated Chapman's original 1988 hit is a favorite of Blue's mother's, who would often play it in the car. "It was a good song in London [during] that time when I was growing up, so it was always on the radio," he went on to say. "And it just kind of stuck with me. It was that song on the long journeys, and I loved it." [37]

Regarding Dakota, who provides vocals on the song, Blue said, "... she [said], 'Oh, I've never done dance music before or anything like that so, I'm not kind of sure.' And I was like, 'Listen, you'd be great.' And she came the next day to record it, and what you hear on the radio is her coming in the next day after her show to record it." [37] Blue also admitted that he wanted to create a Swedish-esque sound on the record: "I think with things like the synth lead lines in it, giving it that second hook, I was kind of going for a very kind of Swedish-y kind of sound. That's kind of the influence behind that kind of lead synth line, and that was something which I don't think people have picked up on yet, but they just like the song because of what it is." [37]

Chart performance

The Jonas Blue version peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, behind Zayn Malik's "Pillowtalk". [38] Its UK peak meant it charted higher than Chapman's original, which peaked at number five on the chart in May 1988 and a position higher upon a re-release in April 2011. [39]

Outside the United Kingdom, the Jonas Blue version reached number one in Australia. [40] and Hungary, whilst also peaking within the top ten in Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand and Sweden. In the United States, the Jonas Blue version went to number one on the Dance Club Songs chart.

Track listing

Digital download – radio edit [41]
No.TitleLength
1."Fast Car" (featuring Dakota) (Radio edit)3:32
Digital download – remixes [42]
No.TitleLength
1."Fast Car" (featuring Dakota) (Club mix)5:30
2."Fast Car" (featuring Dakota) (Grant Nelson remix)6:02
3."Fast Car" (featuring Dakota) (Rare Candy remix)5:42
4."Fast Car" (featuring Dakota) (Daddy's Groove remix)5:23
5."Fast Car" (featuring Dakota) (Steve Smart remix)4:58
Digital download – acoustic version [43]
No.TitleLength
1."Fast Car" (featuring Dakota) (acoustic)3:37

Charts and certifications

Tobtok version

"Fast Car"
Fast-Car-Tobtok-feat-River.jpg
Single by Tobtok featuring River
Released22 January 2016 [114]
Recorded2015
Genre Tropical house
Length3:27
Label disco:wax
Songwriter(s) Tracy Chapman
Producer(s) Tobtok

In 2016, another tropical house version was released by Swedish record producer Tobtok, featuring the vocals from British singer River. Tobtok also released an accompanying music video. The Tobtok version also charted in a number of charts, notably Australia, where it received significant airplay and reached number 19 on the charts. [115] The Tobtok version also charted in the Norwegian VG-lista, Irish IRMA and Danish Tracklisten official charts.

Track listing

  1. "Fast Car" – 3:27
  2. "Fast Car" (L'Tric Remix Radio Edit) – 2:57

Charts

Chart (2016)Peak
position
Australia (ARIA) [116] 19
Denmark (Tracklisten) [117] 29
Ireland (IRMA) [12] 25
Norway (VG-lista) [118] 32
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100) [119] 15
Poland (Video Chart) [120] 3

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA) [121] Platinum70,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Other cover versions

The song has been covered many times including by Khalid, Justin Bieber, The Flying Pickets, Hundred Reasons, Xiu Xiu, Vertical Horizon, Darwin's Waiting Room, Amazing Transparent Man, MYMP, Mutya Buena, Kristian Leontiou, Wayne Wonder, David Usher, Linda Pritchard, Boyce Avenue (featuring Kina Grannis), Christian Kane, Jim O'Rourke, Mark Wilkinson, Elizabeth Gillies, Hitomi Yaida, Ryan Montbleau (featuring Tall Heights), Passenger, and Jess Moskaluke (with W.G. Snuffy Walden). [122]

In 2010, Kelly Clarkson and Daughtry performed a duet of the song in concert. It was also sampled by the rap group Nice & Smooth in their hit song "Sometimes I Rhyme Slow", making it a hit within the hip-hop community as well. British rapper Example also samples the song in his "I Need a Fast Car", which appeared on his mixtape We Didn't Invent the Remix .

In 1991, British soul singer Gabrielle recorded a demo of her song "Dreams" that featured a sample of "Fast Car". When it was released commercially in 1993 the sample was removed because of legal issues, but the version with the sample was still being played in nightclubs and DJ sets. Los Angeles-based turntablist DJ Quixotic is known to perform a cover of "Fast Car" by manipulating a tone record on a turntable to imitate the notes of the opening guitar riffs. In 1991, Hong Kong band Soft Hard covered this song in Cantonese.

The song was parodied as "I Write a Fast Song" in the In Living Color sketch "Making of a Tracy Chapman Song", in which Chapman (portrayed by Kim Wayans) writes a song by looking out her window and witnessing events such as an old man getting hit by a bus and a domestic dispute.

In June 2006, Canadian country music trio The Wilkinsons recorded a version of the song for their 2007 album Home . A noticeable change in the lyrics of their version is that vocalist Amanda Wilkinson replaces the line "We'll get out of this shelter" with "We'll move out of this trailer".

In mid-2008, Swimming With Dolphins released a recording of the song as a B-side track to their EP, Ambient Blue . [123]

In December 2010, Boyce Avenue [124] and Kina Grannis did an acoustic arrangement; as of October 2014 it had over 25 million views on YouTube and remains one of their most popular songs on iTunes. [125]

In April 2011, Michael Collings auditioned on Britain's Got Talent by singing his version of "Fast Car". As a result, the song peaked on number four in the UK Singles Chart in the United Kingdom, a position higher than its original peak in the country 23 years prior. [126]

In September 2014, Sam Smith covered the song on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge, as did British singer Birdy in April 2016, Khalid in March 2018, and Justin Bieber in September 2018. [127]

"Fast Car" appears as first track on the album Oui Can Luv by Andy Allo featuring Prince on guitar.

British singer Jasmine Thompson released a cover of the song in a tropical style in January 2016.

Country music singer Christian Kane recorded a cover of the song, which was featured on his 2015 album, Welcome to My House!

Lee Brice's 2012 single "Hard to Love" was heavily influenced by the song.

In 2015, Kenyan pop group Sauti Sol sampled the song in their single called "Nerea".

In 2020, country singer Luke Combs did an acoustic live cover on his Instagram site with millions of views in YouTube.

See also

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