When Luke Combs set out to cover Tracy Chapman's 1988 hit "Fast Car", he did it out of complete admiration for the song.

Although not every lyric makes sense being covered by a male vocalist, he decided not to deviate from the original lyrics out of respect for its original songwriter.

“You want to just be mega respectful of the original song," Combs tells Kelleigh Bannen on Today's Country Radio. "That's why in that song ... it’s, 'Work in the market as a checkout girl.' I didn’t change that in my version — I really wanted to just do the original version of the song."

Tracy Chapman is the sole writer of "Fast Car."

Why Luke Combs' "Fast Car" Cover Is Such a Big Deal

Combs really wanted to bring the song as it was intended to be in presenting it to a new generation of fans who may have only been vaguely familiar with the original.

"It’s weird because you’re doing a cover of it, and you say, ‘I don’t want to make it my own, because I really just want to shine a light on the original version and bring that.'"

"Because I think there’s so many people that maybe know that song, or it would be familiar to them, but they really don’t know anything about it," he explains. "They’ve never really listened to it."

"When I recorded this, literally the engineer in there asked me who I wrote that song with," Combs adds.

His version has become a massive hit, which has meant Chapman is now a CMA Awards winner.

Luke Combs and Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" Grammys Duet

Chapman was a surprise guest at the 2024 Grammys, joining Combs for the first time to perform the song live on Sunday (Feb. 4). The pair traded verses before harmonizing on the chorus.

It was a rare stage appearance for Chapman, who has performed live only a handful of time since her last tour in 2009. Their duet earned a roaring standing ovation from the audience.

Chapman has performed "Fast Car" on the Grammys before, but in 1989. Combs wouldn't be born until the following year.

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