Fast Car

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For other uses, see Fast Car (disambiguation).
"Fast Car"
Single by Tracy Chapman
from the album Tracy Chapman
B-side "For You"
Released April 1, 1988
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1987
Genre Folk, pop, adult contemporary
Length 4:56 (album version)
4:26 (single edit)
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Tracy Chapman
Producer(s) David Kershenbaum
Tracy Chapman singles chronology
"Fast Car"
"Talkin' 'bout a Revolution"
Music sample

"Fast Car" is a song by American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman. It was released in April 1988 as the lead single from her self-titled debut album. Her appearance on the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute was the catalyst for the song's becoming a top 10 hit in the United States, peaking at number 6 on the Hot 100, and a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 4 on the charts.

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone ranked the song number 167 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1] It is Chapman's only song on the list (and the highest ranking song both written and performed by a female performer). Pitchfork Media placed the song at number 86 on their list of the 200 Best Songs of the 1980s.

Chart performance[edit]

In April 2011 the track also hit the UK top ten at number 4 after Michael Collings performed it on Britain's Got Talent.[2] 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 UK, as of January 2016.[3]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart successions
Preceded by
"The Boys in Green" by Republic of Ireland Soccer Squad
Irish number one single
July 9, 1988 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You" by Glenn Medeiros
Preceded by
"I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That" by Elton John
Canadian RPM Top Singles number-one single
September 3, 1988 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Perfect World" by Huey Lewis and the News
Preceded by
Whitney Houston
for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"
Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
for "Fast Car"
Succeeded by
Bonnie Raitt
for "Nick of Time"

Jonas Blue version[edit]

"Fast Car"
Single by Jonas Blue featuring Dakota
Released December 4, 2015[17]
Format Digital download
Recorded 2015
Genre Tropical house
Length 3:32
Label Virgin EMI
Writer(s) Tracy Chapman
Producer(s) Guy James Robin

In 2015, a tropical house cover of "Fast Car" was released by British producer Jonas Blue featuring Dakota.[18] The Jonas Blue version reached number 1 in Australia[19] and also reached the top 10 in the Netherlands, number 2 in Sweden and number 2 in the United Kingdom.[20] Its UK peak meant it charted higher than Chapman's original.[21]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Other cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered many times including by The Flying Pickets, Hundred Reasons, Xiu Xiu, Vertical Horizon, Darwin's Waiting Room, Amazing Transparent Man, MYMP, The Wilkinsons, Mutya Buena, Kristian Leontiou, Wayne Wonder, David Usher, Linda Pritchard, Boyce Avenue (featuring Kina Grannis), Christian Kane, Mark Wilkinson, Elizabeth Gillies and Hitomi Yaida.

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.

The song was featured in an episode of Jake and Amir, however the words are changed to "I got a fast Jake".

In mid-2008, Swimming With Dolphins released a recording of the song as a B-side track to their EP, Ambient Blue.[37]

In December 2010, Boyce Avenue[38] 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.[39]

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 4 in the UK Singles Chart in May 2011.[40]

In September 2014, Sam Smith covered the song on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.[41]

In 2015, another tropical house version was released by Swedish producer Tobtok, featuring vocals by River. The Tobtok version also charted in Australia, reaching number 19.[42] English singer Jasmine Thompson released a cover of the song in a similar style in January 2016.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2004-12-09. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  2. ^ "Britain's Got Talent helps Fast Car speed into chart". BBC News. 24 April 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Jones, Alan (January 29, 2016). "Official Charts Analysis: Bowie album chart domination continues". Music Week (Intent Media). Retrieved January 29, 2016. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ " – Tracy Chapman – Fast Car". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  5. ^ " – Tracy Chapman – Fast Car" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  6. ^ Canada peak
  7. ^ " – Tracy Chapman Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Fast Car". Irish Singles Chart.
  9. ^ " – Tracy Chapman – Fast Car". Top 40 Singles.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Tracy Chapman search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  11. ^ " – Tracy Chapman – Fast Car". Singles Top 100.
  12. ^ a b c d "Tracy Chapman: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  13. ^ a b c "Fast Car: Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. 2004-12-09. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  14. ^ "Tracy Chapman Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  15. ^ " – Tracy Chapman – Fast Car". Tracklisten.
  16. ^ "British single certifications – Tracy Chapman – Fast Car". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Fast Car in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  17. ^ "Fast Car (feat. Dakota) [Radio Edit] - Single by Jonas Blue". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  18. ^ Deen, Khyle (25 January 2016). "Jonas Blue releases music video to global smash hit Fast Car feat. Dakota (VIDEO)". Purple Revolver. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  19. ^ Ryan, Gavin (30 January 2016). "ARIA Singles: Jonas Blue 'Fast Car' Is Australia's No 1". Noise11. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  20. ^ Gibsone, Harriet (February 5, 2016). "Zayn Malik's debut solo single Pillowtalk goes straight to No 1". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved February 8, 2016. 
  21. ^ Myers, Justin (1 February 2016). "12 cover versions that charted higher than the originals". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 February 2016. 
  22. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  23. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  24. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  25. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car" (in French). Ultratip.
  26. ^ "Jonas Blue feat. Dakota: Fast Car" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  27. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  28. ^ "Chart Track: Week 5, 2016". Irish Singles Chart.
  29. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  30. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car". Top 40 Singles.
  31. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car". VG-lista.
  32. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car". Singles Top 100.
  33. ^ " – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car". Swiss Singles Chart.
  34. ^ "Archive Chart: 2016-02-05" UK Singles Chart.
  35. ^ "Archive Chart: 2016-02-05" UK Dance Chart.
  36. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2016 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  37. ^ ""Fast Car" (Swimming With Dolphins cover) on SoundCloud". SoundCloud. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  38. ^ Fast Car. YouTube. May 18, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Boyce Avenue", iTunes, May 18, 2013 
  40. ^ "Britain's Got Talent helps Fast Car speed into chart". BBC News. 2011-04-24. 
  41. ^ Blistein, Jon (September 4, 2014). "Sam Smith Offers Delicate Cover of Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  42. ^ Wass, Mike (January 4, 2016). "Battle of the “Fast Car” Covers: Jonas Blue Ft. Dakota Vs. TobTok Ft. River". Idolator. Retrieved February 8, 2016. 

External links[edit]