Tracy took the world by storm with three songs on her debut album!
Coming from the coffee shop scene in Massachusetts, Tracy not only sold multi-platinum but won three Grammy awards for her debut. She changed music history as she paved the way for other female acts with more political lyrics. Something that had gotten lost in the spandex and make-up of the ’80s.
Following Tracy Chapman, many popular acts were now more honest. More female acoustic acts, like Jewel, were being signed in huge bidding wars by record labels as everyone was looking for the next Tracy Chapman.
A few years later, when male rock bands like grunge trio Nirvana and political metal hip-hoppers Rage Against The Machine became popular, the tide had shifted.
Hair metal was dead, and hundreds of rock bands were dropped overnight. There are numerous stories of band members going from sipping champagne on a private Jet to stacking shelves in their local supermarket overnight.
Tracy Chapman started a revolution
The original recording of Talking About A Revolution, or Talkin’ ’bout A Revolution as the album sleeve says, opened up the self-titled masterpiece. This song epitomized the female songwriter, singing of political change from a street corner.
Before you even had a chance to turn the album over, fans were sold. Tracy Chapman was everyone’s new favorite singer-songwriter.
Women took to this record as something that spoke to them, it felt honest, genuine, and real. Again, very much in contrast to the direction the music industry, in general, had been going.
Following the success of her world-famous debut, Tracy Chapman has shared studios and stages with many famous artists.
In 1997, the Irish boy band Boyzone had a huge hit with Baby Can I Hold You which brought Tracy back into the charts with the same song, a decade later.
Boyzone attracted another generation of teenage girls to Tracy Chapman who saw a new revival.
Did Tracy Chapman’s debut album have the three strongest songs of an A-side? well, it’s definitely a contender!
Since the debut album, Tracy has kept releasing albums. The tune Crossroads is pretty decent but to be honest, she never managed to live up to the success that her first, legendary album achieved.
A fast car drove the acoustic guitar back into the charts
Fast Car is another 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 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 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 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.
Tracy Chapman tunes | Related pages
You can learn how to play Fast Car by Tracy Chapman using chords, lyrics, TAB, chord analysis, and Spytunes video guitar lessons.
| Cmaj7 G5 | Em Dadd4 |
You got a fast car, I want a ticket to anywhere…
Talking About A Revolution
Learn how to play Talking About A Revolution by Tracy Chapman using chords, lyrics, TAB, chord analysis, and Spytunes video guitar lessons.
| G Cadd9 | Em D Dus4 D |
Don’t you know, they’re talkin’ about a revolution…