One of the first notable surprises of the 2024 Grammy Awards telecast was the performance of "Fast Car." Not that it wasn't practically a given that country singer Luke Combs would turn up to perform his cover of the Tracy Chapman classic, but what took many viewers by surprise - and brought a tear or two to more than a few viewers' eyes - was the sight and sound of Chapman herself performing the song with Combs.
While there have been - as is often the case with cover versions of iconic songs - more than a few detractors of Combs' rendition of "Fast Car," there was no denying the pure adoration in Combs' eyes as he stood beside Chapman on the Grammy stage, watching and enjoying her performance of the first verse before taking over for the second verse. Notably, Combs only sang during the performance, letting Chapman take full guitar duties, but when the chorus came around, the two singers joined forces, and darned if they didn't sound great together.
Chapman’s original version of “Fast Car” hit No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it also hit No. 7 on Adult Contemporary and #19 on Mainstream Rock. It also hit #5 on the UK Singles chart and – in addition to being a top-10 hit elsewhere in Europe – it topped the charts in Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
Combs’ version of the song, it may surprise you to learn, was even more successful in many territories, including the US, where it hit #2 on the Hot 100, #7 on the Mainstream Top 40, #3 on Adult Contemporary, and #1 for Country Airplay, Hot Country Songs, and Adult Top 40.
While their joint performance during the Grammy Awards has yet to be officially released via the Recording Academy's official YouTube channel, they did provide something almost as good: a completely silent clip of Taylor Swift grooving to the performance.
UPDATE: This is not actually almost as good. But it's all we've got for the time being.
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SZA, who went into the night the leading contender with nine nominations, picked up a pair of Grammys at the afternoon pre-telecast ceremony, at which more than 70 of the Grammys’ 94 awards were distributed. SZA’s SOS picked up Best Urban Contemporary Album, while SZA also won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, for her “Ghost in the Machine” collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers. Bridgers was glimpsed later in the afternoon, when Boygenius, her supergroup with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, won a quick-fire trio of awards for Best Rock Performance, best Rock Song, and Best Alternative Music Album.
Killer Mike was also a triple winner in the afternoon, with the Atlanta hip-hop veteran picking up statuettes for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song.
Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey, both nominees in the night’s major categories, have yet to pick up any awards, though Jack Antonoff, who collaborated with both, won the Grammy for Producer of the Year for the third time in a row.