Talkin' 'bout a Revolution

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"Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution"
Single by Tracy Chapman
from the album Tracy Chapman
B-side "If Not Now..."
"Behind The Wall" (Live)
"She's Got Her Ticket"
Released August 1988
Format CD
Genre Contemporary folk
Length 2:39
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Tracy Chapman
Producer(s) David Kershenbaum
Tracy Chapman singles chronology
"Fast Car"
"Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution"
"Baby Can I Hold You"

"Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" is the second single from singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman's self-titled debut album. The politically aware song failed to replicate the success of its predecessor, "Fast Car", and peaked at #75 in the United States. However, it also managed to chart on four other charts maintained by Billboard (which brings out the weekly US chart) and reached the top forty in two of them.[1]

Internationally, this single was a big hit, reaching the Top 40 in several countries, including France and New Zealand, becoming a classic in Chapman's song repertoire.[2] The song received heavy radio play in Tunisia in 2011 during the Tunisian revolution.[3][4] The song has also been used as an unofficial theme for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. This song played before speeches at campaign rallies. [5]

The song was first covered by the group Living Colour, who not only performed the song on occasion on various tours but released a live version in the compilation album "What's Your Favorite Color" (1995) (Sony Music Distribution). English punk band Leatherface released their cover version of the song on their EP "Compact and Bijou" in 1992. It was subsequently covered by singer Ben Jelen on the Russell Simmons/Babyface-produced all-star compilation Wake Up Everybody in 2004. This song was also covered by Reel Big Fish on their 2005 album We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy and Chamberlain as a B Side to "Five Year Diary". In 2010, this song was translated into Cree and covered by Art Napoleon on his album Creeland Covers. In February 2011, Israeli band Shmemel covered the song and added a verse inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions, with the new song being given the title "Talking About an Arab Revolution".[6]


Chart (1988)[7] Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 75
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 45
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 24
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 22
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 78
Australian Singles Chart[8] 66
Austrian Singles Chart 29
Canadian RPM Top Singles 48
France Singles Chart 22
Dutch Singles Chart 18
New Zealand Singles Chart 32


  1. ^ Artist Chart History:
  2. ^ "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" in several charts
  3. ^ Fisher, Marc (Mar 26, 2011). "In Tunisia, act of one fruit vendor unleashes wave of revolution through Arab world". Washington Post. 
  4. ^ Caroline Kulsum and Noor Al Khatib (25 June 2011). "Minstrels of the Arab Revolution". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012. In 1964, Dylan released The Times Are a-Changin' to support the US Civil Rights movement. Tracy Chapman sang Talkin' ‘Bout a Revolution in 1988, which has also been played repeatedly on Tunisian radio stations in the recent months. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Talking about an arab revolution on YouTube
  7. ^ Artist Chart History:
  8. ^ "25 Years Ago This Week: August 28, 1988". Retrieved 22 September 2015. 

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