Song Lyric Sunday – Fast Car

This week, our host for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams, has prompted us to find songs related to Car, Vehicle, Automobile or Jalopy. The suggestion is provided by our friend Melanie B Cee from the blog sparksfromacombustiblemind

I am going with a particular favorite of mine by Tracy Chapman called Fast Car.

The Song

In this song, Chapman sings from the perspective of a woman whose life isn’t working out as she hoped. She’s with a guy who’s unemployed, lazy and unsupportive – she works at the convenience store to pay the bills while he’s drinking at the bar.

In the chorus, we hear why she’s with him: Long ago, he made her feel like like she belonged, and that they could have a fulfilling and exciting life together. Riding in his fast car, his arm around her shoulder, all was right.

Speaking with Q magazine, Chapman said: “It’s not really about a car at all… basically it’s about a relationship that doesn’t work out because it’s starting from the wrong place.”

This won the Grammy Award in 1989 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

This song returned to the UK singles chart in April 2011 after it was performed by contestant Michael Collings on the first edition of the fifth series of Britain’s Got Talent.

When the then-unknown Tracy Chapman was booked to appear down the bill at the Nelson Mandela birthday concert at Wembley Stadium on June 11, 1988, little did she know her appearance would be the catalyst for a career breakthrough. After performing several songs from her self titled debut during the afternoon, Chapman thought she’d done her bit and could relax and enjoy the rest of the concert. However, later in the evening Stevie Wonder was delayed when the computer discs for his performance went missing, and Chapman was ushered back onto stage again. In front of a huge prime time audience she performed “Fast Car” alone with her acoustic guitar. Afterwards the song raced up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Two popular dance music cover versions were released near the end of 2015.

The producer Jonas Blue was just 21 when he released his version; he wasn’t alive when the original was released, but it was one of his mother’s favorite songs, so he heard it a lot growing up in England. He struggled to find a vocalist to bring the song to life, but he hit the mark when he tried a young singer named Dakota, whom he spotted performing in a pub. She ended up being the vocalist on the track. This version went to #1 in Australia and was a hit across Europe, reaching #2 in the UK. In America, it went to #1 on the Dance chart.

Around this same time, the Swedish remix man Tobtok (Tobias Karlsson) released his version with another mononymed vocalist, River. This version, which was accompanied by a video, was a modest hit in Australia, reaching #19.

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
Me, myself I got nothing to prove

You got a fast car
I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
Won't have to drive too far
Just 'cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living

You see my old man's got a problem
He live with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
His body's too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody's got to take care of him
So I quit school and that's what I did

You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

So remember we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
We go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs

I remember we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving

I remember we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

Writer/s: Tracy L. Chapman 
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

  25 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – Fast Car

  1. aisasami
    August 1, 2021 at 10:41 am

    I love this song! I never knew the contents of the lyrics, wonderful story!

    • Christine Bolton
      August 1, 2021 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you Amy! ☺️💕🌺

  2. July 25, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    It is a very iconic song, one that makes you stop what you are doing when you hear it.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 27, 2021 at 8:29 am

      Thanks Leon ☺️ Yes, great song and it’s her voice that draws you in.

  3. July 25, 2021 at 11:54 am

    My favourite too! ❤️

    • Christine Bolton
      July 27, 2021 at 8:30 am

      Thanks Punam. It’s great isn’t it? ☺️💕

      • July 27, 2021 at 11:23 am

        Absolutely! 😊💞
        My pleasure.

  4. July 25, 2021 at 10:53 am

    I picked this song too, before I saw your post. Scheduled to go up after 10 CST. I think there could be several duplicates today. Homage to how good Tracy Chapman is.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 25, 2021 at 11:57 am

      I think it’s great when there are some dupes. Yes, hats off to great songs and artists ☺️👍
      I was tempted to go with Cruisin’ by Smokey Robinson. I had used it several years ago but it is a great song for the cars prompt ☺️💕

  5. July 25, 2021 at 10:18 am

    One of my all time favorite songs, Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 27, 2021 at 8:30 am

      Thanks Maggie. ☺️💕

  6. July 25, 2021 at 8:53 am

    This song is really a great choice and this may be the first time that I listened to it trying to absorb the meaning, because of reading your post Christine. I like it even more now after you explained it.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 27, 2021 at 8:28 am

      Thanks Jim. I’m happy you liked it ☺️💕

  7. July 25, 2021 at 6:35 am

    This song was very popular in the Philippines. It’s been a staple in variety shows being sung by popular singers and aspiring ones as well… versions were even recorded over the years…

    • Christine Bolton
      July 25, 2021 at 8:02 am

      Thanks Janis. How interesting it has been recorded so many times in the Phillipines ☺️💕🌺

      • July 26, 2021 at 11:34 am

        Oh, Philippines love doing secondhand songs 😜 and they do it really well…

      • Christine Bolton
        July 26, 2021 at 10:16 pm

        How interesting! ☺️

    • July 25, 2021 at 9:37 am

      I love this song Christine one of the most beautiful ever. Such wonderful storytelling.💜

      • Christine Bolton
        July 27, 2021 at 8:27 am

        Thanks Willow ☺️💕🌺

      • July 27, 2021 at 9:21 am

        💜💜💜

      • Christine Bolton
        July 27, 2021 at 8:33 am

        ☺️💕🌺

  8. July 25, 2021 at 2:34 am

    Adore Tracy Chapman and this song in particular. A wet cold afternoon here, I think I will fix a drink and put my vinyl album on to enjoy this beautiful woman’s music. Thanks for sharing Christine!

    • Christine Bolton
      July 25, 2021 at 8:01 am

      Oh I’m so pleased you like it too. Enjoy your cold, wet afternoon! ☺️🌺

  9. July 25, 2021 at 1:25 am

    I love this song and was thinking about picking it, but I ended up going with something else. I’m glad you chose it.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 25, 2021 at 8:00 am

      Thanks! Yes it’s pretty special. There were so many to pick from this week.

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