This is the second time her 1988 breakout hit has been met with high honors this year.

Tracy Chapman has officially entered the chat as a CMA Awards winner–and you’ll never guess what for. 

Her chart-topping song “Fast Car,” which was initially released on her self-titled studio album in 1988, was met with great honors 35 years later.

After Luke Combs‘ version of the country-pop hit took home the Single of the Year during the Nov. 8 awards show, it was revealed that Chapman would be the recipient of the Song of the Year award–a title reserved for a song’s writer(s), and as the sole writer, all the honors went to the 59-year-old singer-songwriter.

Chapman, unfortunately, was not there to walk the stage to accept her prestigious award. Instead, country star Sara Evans stood in for her (and next to Bill Anderson), reading the speech Chapman had provided in her absence. 

“I’m sorry I couldn’t join you all tonight. It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized after 35 years of its debut,” Evans said on behalf of Chapman. “Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke and all of the fans of ‘Fast Car.’”

Moments earlier, while accepting his own big win, Combs shared a special shoutout aimed at the song’s original singer. “First of all, I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing the best song of all time,” he began. “I just recorded it because I love this song so much, it’s meant so much to me throughout my entire life. It’s the first favorite song that I ever had, since I was four years old.”

This is the second time this year that Chapman’s decades-old hit has made country music history. In July, Chapman became the first Black woman to have the sole songwriting credit on a No.1 country song on the chart, as well as on the Country Songwriters chart. 

“I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be here,” she said at the time. “I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.'” 


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