Tracy Chapman’s rise to global stardom was fate, you might say (Picture: Getty Images)
Tracy Chapman is a household name due to her iconic songs Fast Car and Talkin’ Bout a Revolution. However, her overnight stardom came during one chance performance in 1988 – and she wasn’t even supposed to be on stage at the time.
Music history will tell how Chapman rose to fame following a star-making performance at Wembley Stadium back in 1988. However, one Twitter user has revealed how Chapman’s set was a last-minute substitution, following a particularly fateful backstage disaster.
Stevie Wonder and his band were originally intended to perform that evening at Wembley, following a set by Birmingham band UB40.
However, just as UB40 were finishing their performance, Wonder was horrified to discover that the hard disc of his Synclavier – a digital synthesizer which contained all 25 minutes of music for his performance – was missing. As a devastated Wonder and his band exited the stadium in tears, an urgent gap was left to be filled.
Chapman, who had already performed that day, agreed to step in. Performing songs from her recently released album, including Fast Car and Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution, Chapman took Wembley by storm.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Prior to the concert, Chapman is believed to have sold around 250,000 albums. In the weeks which followed, this figure is said to have skyrocketed to millions.
Chapman went on to become the first Black woman to score a country number one with a solo composition. In 1989, she received six Grammy Award nominations for her debut album, three of which she went on to win.
During her illustrious career, she produced eight studio albums and 22 singles. And, following her performance this week, she scored yet another No.1 hit – with Fast Car shooting to the top of the charts on iTunes.
The notoriously reclusive artist made her surprise return to the stage during this week’s Grammy Awards, held at Crytpo.com Arena in Los Angeles.
With guitar in hand and dressed entirely in black, Chapman had audiences enraptured as soon as the first chords of her iconic 1988 single rang out.
Chapman’s overnight stardom was a sliding doors moment (Picture: Getty Images)
Chapman returned to the spotlight performing with Luke Combs at the Grammys 2024 (Picture: Getty Images)
Chapman is reclusive but previously insisted she hasn’t retired (Picture: Getty Images)
As the audience took to their feet for the triumphant chorus of the song, Chapman was joined on stage by country music legend Luke Combs.
The Forever After All artist, who released a cover of Fast Car last year, said: ‘Tracy Chapman is such an icon, and one of the greatest artists that I think any of us will be along to see.’
He continued: ‘It’s a full circle moment for me. Just to be associated with her and any way is super humbling for me.’
As Chapman wrapped up her performance, host Trevor Noah joined fans in celebration of the icon, saying: ‘The legendary Tracy Chapman, everybody! Thank you so much for that! Thank you so much for that.’
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