Tracy Chapman

  • Born in Cleveland in 1964.
  • Released 8 studio albums, from 1988 to 2008. I’ve placed her in the 80s category, as her two best selling albums were released in the 80s.
  • Her debut album, the self titled Tracy Chapman, was a massive success. It sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The three singles from the album were Fast Car, Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution, and Baby Can I Hold You. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Fast Car at number 167 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. It is the highest ranking song that is both written and performed by a woman. Based on the strength of this record, Chapman won 3 Grammy Awards. She won an additional Grammy in 1995 for Best Rock Song for Give Me One Reason.
  • Chapman says she has not retired, but she has not toured since 2009, and her only released recording since 2008 is a greatest hits compilation, released in 2015.
  • Her indie-folk sound is distinctive. When you hear her sing, it is instantly recognizable as Tracy Chapman. Fast Car truly is a masterpiece – if it isn’t on your list of all-time greatest, it should be. It has been covered by other artists as well – a tropical house version by Jonas Blue reached #1 on the Dance Club Songs chart in 2016, and a country version by Luke Combs reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Hot Country Songs chart in 2023.
  • Little was heard from Chapman from 2010 until a 2015 live appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman – in the last week of the show before Letterman’s retirement, she performed a rendition of Ben E. King’s Stand By Me. Listen and watch it here.

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