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.
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
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