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Tracy Chapman Wins CMA Award for ‘Fast Car’ 35 Years After It Debuted

Tracy Chapman
Brad Rickerby/Reuters

Chapman is the first Black woman to win song of the year.

By Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

(CNN) -- Tracy Chapman continues to make history with her 1988 hit “Fast Car” after winning song of the year at Wednesday’s Country Music Awards.

Chapman was not present during the telecast, which took place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, but country star and the category’s presenter Sarah Evans read a message on Chapman’s behalf after announcing her as the winner.

“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. Wow. Thank you to the CMAs and a special thanks to Luke (Combs) and to all of the fans of ‘Fast Car,’” Evans said on behalf of Chapman.

The CMA win is a remarkable achievement given “Fast Car” debuted 35 years ago, and saw a resurgence in popularity in July after country star Luke Combs released a cover of the hit single.

Combs’ cover went on to reach No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart, making Chapman the first Black woman to top the chart since it came into existence in 1990.

Chapman, who is the sole writer of “Fast Car,” also reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Songwriters chart, thanks to the Combs cover.

“I never expected to find myself on the country charts, but I’m honored to be there,” Chapman told Billboard in a statement at the time, adding, “I’m happy for Luke and his success and grateful that new fans have found and embraced ‘Fast Car.’”

Combs also took home a CMA Award on Wednesday for his cover of “Fast Car” in the single of the year category.

“Fast Car” was the first single off Chapman’s self-titled debut album, and it earned her a Grammy in 1989 for best female pop vocal performance as well as record and song of the year nominations.

She also won for best new artist and best contemporary folk album that year.

The CMAs aired on ABC on Wednesday and were hosted by country singer Luke Bryan and former football player Peyton Manning.

CNN’s Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
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