Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman Becomes First Black Woman to Top Billboard Country Chart as Songwriter

That “Fast Car” that Tracy Chapman has been driving has led her to become the first Black woman to have the top song on Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart.

Earlier this week, Chapman’s song, “Fast Car” which was redone by country artist, Luke Combs landed at the top of the country charts making Chapman, who wrote and recorded the song, the first Black Woman to top the country charts as the sole songwriter.

According to Billboard, the song, which was originally released back in 1988, didn’t even reach the Top 5 for Chapman. Her highest position for that song was number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Now, the remake is the first one to reach No. 1 on the chart in 15 years. It was also the first time in almost 25 years that a song that first appeared in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, appeared as a remake on the Country Airplay chart.

Although she is the first Black woman, she is the second Black person to achieve this feat. The first time a Black songwriter reached the top slot on the country chart as a sole writer was on Aug. 4, 1990. Dan Seals’ remake of “Good Times” written by legendary soul musician, Sam Cooke gave Cooke the distinction of having a number-one country song. Cooke’s version, which was originally released in 1964, peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year.

Rolling Stone pointed out that other Black female writers have co-written songs that have reached the top of the Country Airplay chart.

As Rolling Stone first noted, three Black women have reached No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart as co-writers. Allison Randall was co-writer on Trisha Yearwood’s hit record, “XXX’s & OOO’s (An American Girl),” which came in at number one on the chart on Sept. 10, 1994. Seven years later, in 2021, Ester Dean co-wrote Lady A’s “Champagne Night,” and later the same year, Dan + Shay’s “Glad You Exist,” was co-written by Tayla Parx.

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