Tracy Chapman's ‘Fast Car' wins song of the year at CMA Awards, 35 years after its debut

Luke Combs, who reintroduced the 1988 hit to a new audience with his popular cover, also took home single of the year for "Fast Car"

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Nearly four decades after Tracy Chapman released "Fast Car," the folk ballad she wrote in 1988 became the unlikely winner of the night at the Country Music Awards.

Chapman won song of the year, which is awarded to songwriters, and Luke Combs, who reintroduced it to a new audience with his popular cover, took home single of the year.

Chapman's win also reportedly made history as she became the first Black songwriter to win that award, according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

Although the 59-year-old did not attend the award ceremony at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, she thanked country music fans and Combs in a statement that was read on-stage by presenter Sara Evans.

“It’s truly an honor for my song to be newly recognized after 35 years of its debut,” Chapman’s statement said. “Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke and all of the fans of ‘Fast Car.’”

Combs also thanked Chapman in his single of the year acceptance speech.

“I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the greatest songs of all time," the 33-year-old North Carolina singer said. "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 4 years old.”

Combs released his remake of "Fast Car" earlier this summer and it quickly climbs the country and Top 40 Billboard charts. Chapman became the first Black female songwriter in history to have a No. 1 country song.

At the time, Chapman told Billboard she was "grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car,’” and was "happy for Luke and his success."

The cover wasn't without controversy. While many celebrated the resurgence of Chapman's work, others argued that a Black woman who is queer would not have been likely to achieve the same success in country music as Combs did as a white male with the same song.

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