Fast Car chords by Tracy Chapman


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Fast Car chords and lyrics – Capo 2

Intro

| Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 | Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 |
| Cmaj7 G5 | Em Esus4 Em D D sus4 D | Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 |

Verse 1

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
You got a fast car, I want a ticket to anywhere.
Maybe we make a deal, maybe together we can get somewhere.
Any place is better, starting from zero got nothing to lose.
Maybe we’ll make something but me myself I got nothing to prove.

Instrumental 1

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||

Verse 2

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
You got a fast car, I got a plan to get us out of here.
Been working at the convenience store, managed to save just a little bit of money.
Won’t have to drive too far, just across the border and into the city.
You and I can both get jobs, and finally see what it means to be living.

Instrumental 2

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||

Verse 3

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
See my old man’s got a problem, he lives 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.

Instrumental 3

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||

Verse 4

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
You got a fast car, is it fast enough so we can fly away?
We gotta make a decision, we leave tonight or live and die this way.

Instrumental 4

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
So I remember when we were,

Chorus 1

| C | G |
driving, driving in your car, speed so fast it felt like I was drunk.
| Em | D5 D5/A |
City lights lay out before us and your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder,
| C Em | D5 D5/A |
and I, I had a feeling that I belonged.
| C Em | D5 D5/A | C D5 |
And I, I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.

Instrumental 5

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||

Verse 5

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
You got a fast car, we go cruising to entertain ourselves.
You still ain’t got a job and I work in the 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.

Instrumental 6

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
So I remember when we were,

Chorus 2

| C | G |
driving, driving in your car, speed so fast it felt like I was drunk.
| Em | D5 D5/A |
City lights lay out before us and your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder,
| C Em | D5 D5/A |
and I, I had a feeling that I belonged.
| C Em | D5 D5/A | C D5 |
And I, I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.

Instrumental 7

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||

Verse 6

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
You got a fast car, I got a job that pays all our bills.
You stay out drinking till late at the bar, see more of your friends than you do your kids.
I’d always hoped for better but maybe together you and me’d find it.
If you got no plans and ain’t going nowhere, so take your fast car and keep on driving.

Instrumental 8

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
So I remember when we were,

Chorus 3

| C | G |
driving, driving in your car, speed so fast it felt like I was drunk.
| Em | D5 D5/A |
City lights lay out before us and your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder,
| C Em | D5 D5/A |
and I, I had a feeling that I belonged.
| C Em | D5 D5/A | C D5 |
And I, I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.

Instrumental 9

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||

Verse 7

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||
You got a fast car but is it fast enough so you can fly away.
You gotta make a decision, you leave tonight or live and die this way.

Outro

||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :|| x3
| Cmaj7 G5 |


You can learn how to play Fast Car!

The chords in Fast Car are simple, using only IV – I – VI – V on a loop over the seemingly never-ending verse.

In the key of G, with some extensions, this becomes ||: Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 :||

The chorus chords have fewer extensions, my version adds some leading bass notes to compensate for the lack of a bass player when played on just one acoustic guitar.

| C | G | Em | D5 D5/A |
| C Em | D5 D5/A |
| C Em | D5 D5/A | C D5 |

Apply a capo to fret 2 and you’re actually in the key of A. However, you want to think of Fast Car as if you’re in the key of G, even when you play that Em during the intro, high up the neck.

However, just reading the chords won’t work as Fast Car is more of a chord riff. Below you’ll find a guitar lesson from the course discussing how to play the verse, exactly like Tracy Chapman do.

Once you know exactly how to play it, just reading the chords you see above will work as a reminder.


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Fast Car verse chords and riff TAB

Let’s work out how to play Fast Car exactly as Tracy Chapman does. This is one of the most iconic acoustic guitar chord riffs around and easily Tracy’s most accomplished work.

Since the recording has drums bass and keyboards as well as the main and 2nd guitar part in it, we must adapt when playing this on just one or two guitars.

Before we start going through the examples I’ve made, let’s take a look at what Tracy and her 2nd guitar player actually played. Here’s TAB for the two parts.

Fast Car original parts – Tracy and 2nd guitar

With that out of the way, let’s look at the three examples that work without the bass, drums, and all that original production.

Here’s example 1, the simplest version which we play early on in the arrangement. Use the TAB loop in the playlist above to practice.


There’s a quarter note triplet lick in the intro and also later down the arrangement, this is what example 2 focuses on.


Example 3 contains the busiest parts, practice these in four chunks, then two lines before you attempt the entire example.


In the course, we next work on the chorus, there will again be three examples to practice. When you can play those, you’re ready to play the complete song.

Following being able to play Fast Car on one acoustic guitar, we then look at using the CAGED system to play all chords in all areas of the fretboard.

Once you can do that, we build a 2nd guitar part, learn this so you, me, and the singer can play Fast Car together, effectively preparing you to play the song with other musicians.

To access all 8 guitar lessons, sign up here.

A fast car drove the acoustic guitar back into the charts

Fast Car is a single from the hugely successful self-entitled debut album Tracy Chapman ’(88).

Following a performance at Nelson Mandela’s televised 70th Birthday Party, Fast Car reached #5 in the U.S and #6 in the UK charts.

As well as worldwide success in sales, the album was nominated for three Grammy awards, taking home Best Female Pop Performance for Fast Car.

The lyrics of Fast Car might be some of the finest of the 80s, possibly even comparable to Bob Dylan‘s work.

Tracy tells the story of the impossible task of getting somewhere in a modern poor America that seemed to have no other possibilities other than getting a job at the grocery store and watching your partner fall into drug or alcohol abuse.

The final twist of the song simply moves from “we gotta make a decision” to “you gotta make a decision, leave tonight or live and die this way”.

As this might seem like the only solution, the song delivered a bitter feeling that no matter what, there was no way out.

This type of lyrical content, paired with the feeling of hope in Talking About A Revolution and the more romantic Baby Can I Hold You provided, gave the album depth.

As all three songs stood strong on their own, together they told the bitter tale of a modern America, clearly stating that if you had no money, you were a no one.

After a decade of outrageous hairspray stadium spandex rock, where sex drugs and rock n roll ruled, Tracy Chapman delivered what the world craved, honesty, not fakery.

Only a few years later, when the big rock acts had unloaded their last Marshall stack, applied their final eyeliner and Nirvana had taken over, it was clear that someone must have started this revolution. I reckon it was Tracy.


Fast Car | Related pages


Fast Car – 8 Guitar Lessons

The epic Fast Car is a finger-style masterpiece by Tracy Chapman. The seemingly never-ending verse is actually sung over just two bars of music.

Once we worked this out and developed it, we look at the chorus as well as how we can design a 2nd guitar to go with the original part.

Go to Fast Car – 8 Guitar Lessons.


Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her singles Fast Car, Talking About A Revolution, and Baby Can I Hold You from her self-entitled debut album.

Amazingly, these three songs were on the debuts A-side.

Go to Tracy Chapman.


Intermediate Acoustic Songs

Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Songs

The intermediate songs can not be played using just basic open-position chords. We have to move up the fretboard and play CAGED barre chords as well.

We incorporate bass lines, licks, extend chords, and play vocal melodies. Most importantly, we invent 2nd guitar parts and play these songs together.

Go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs.


Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset you can acquire. It is your ticket to playing with other musicians.

To help you on this journey, I’ve gathered tunes I play with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


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