Fast Car chords by Tracy Chapman


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Fast Car | Chords + 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 |


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Fast Car Chords: Learn the progressions


Fast Car 8 step by step guitar lessons

Tracy Chapman‘s iconic Fast Car has simple chords, using only IV – I – VI – V on a loop for the seemingly never-ending verse.

Using a capo on fret 2, thinking in the key of G, with some extensions, the verse/instrumental sections spell:

||: Cmaj7 (IV) G5 (I) | Em (VI) Dadd4 (V) :||

Just reading these chords isn’t enough to get Fast Car right as it’s more of a chord riff. What’s more, on the original recording you actually have two guitars (members look at a transcription of this).

So what we have to do if we want to play Fast Car on our own, is develop Tracy’s original part. Here’s the TAB for the play-along video above contain.

Fast Car one guitar chords and TAB, example 1.

This was one example of how you could play Fast Car’s chord riff, members look at many more.

The chorus chords have fewer extensions, I like to add the A in the bass for the D chord to compensate for the lack of a bass player when played on just one acoustic guitar.

Here is how I think you should play Fast Car’s chorus chords if you’re without a band:

| C (IV) | G (I) | Em (VI) | D5 (V) D5/A |
| C Em | D5 D5/A |
| C Em | D5 D5/A | C D5 |

The verse and chorus are what we will work on in the first two lessons in the full lesson series of Fast Car.

For the remaining 5 steps, we use the CAGED system to identify Fast Car’s chords all over the neck and build a 2nd guitar.

In the final step, you, me, and the singer play Fast Car together, as an acoustic trio (you can hear what this sounds like at the top of this page, video 2 in the playlist).

Here’s a link to the complete lesson series: Fast Car – Guitar Lessons with TAB.



A Fast Car drove the acoustic guitar back into the charts!

Fast Car is another single from the hugely successful self-titled debut album Tracy Chapman (1988).

Following a performance at Nelson Mandela’s televised 70th Birthday Party, Fast Car reached #5 in the U.S. and #6 in the U.K. 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 in this now legendary tune 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 America that seemed to have no other possibilities other than getting a job at the grocery store and watching your partner fall into drug and/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 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 Western 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 Chords | Related Pages


Intermediate Acoustic

There are many more Intermediate Acoustic Songs with similar chords to Fast Car.

Most intermediate acoustic tunes can’t 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, add licks, extend chords, and play vocal melodies. Most importantly, we’ll invent second guitar parts and play these songs together.


Five similar tunes with chords and lyrics

When you can play Fast Car's chords, try these five tunes from the songbook.


Tracy Chapman tunes

Tracy Chapman wrote Fast Car's chords.

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

Amazingly, these three songs were on the debut’s A-side.


Tracy Chapman on the web

Listen to Tracy Chapman on Spotify.


Pop & Rock

When you can play Fast Car, check out these Pop & Rock tunes as well.

Whenever a tune doesn’t fit into a specific genre, it tends to end up here, in the Pop & Rock section.

Learn tunes from Tom Petty, Eagles, Toto, Oasis, Elvis, Clapton, John Mayer, Kings Of Leon, R.E.M., Radiohead, Bruno Mars, and more.


About me | Dan Lundholm

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson about Fast Car's chords.

This was a guitar lesson about Fast Car chords, by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and learn guitar with Spytunes.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.



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