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In her first public appearance in years, US folk singer Tracy Chapman took the stage at this year’s Grammy Awards to perform her 1988 hit “Fast Car” as a duet with millennial country music superstar, Luke Combs.
This 2 minutes and 34 seconds of broadcast footage has since become the most streamed video of all time for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
The comeback of Tracy Chapman, who has already established herself as an icon to every single generation of Indigenous woman who came before and after her self-titled debut studio album, was always going to be a hit within the community.
However, it was the live duet with the equally loved 33-year-old Luke Combs that has cemented this song in First Nation’s headphones and speakers for all of eternity.
Combs, whose 2023 cover of ‘Fast Car’ helped propel Chapman’s song back to the top of the charts for a new generation, is colloquially referred to as ‘Uncle Luke’ by Australia’s Indigenous people – who were listening to his music before anyone else in Australia.
It’s a loyal fanbase best summarised by one moment in Comb’s 2023 Australian tour, where he was joined onstage in Sydney by two of the nation’s most high profile Indigenous sports stars, NRL footballer Latrell Mitchell and UFC fighter Tai Tuivasa.
By combining the understated matriarchal gentleness of Chapman and the gruff cowboy charisma of Combs, this live duet has landed right in the sweet spot for the mob – who are contributing heavily to the 3.3 million views that has already been amassed on YouTube.
In the Grammy performance, both artists opted for a stripped down rendition of the original, which finished with a lengthy standing ovation for Chapman.
As the video finishes, Luke Combs pays his respect by bowing to the genius behind the tragic working class anthem that merges two audiences into a Venn diagram of which Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander people are at the very centre.