The Best Of Tracy Chapman

The Best Of Tracy Chapman

tracy chapman
Tracy Chapman, 1989. Photo by Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Tracy Chapman's self-titled debut, released in 1988, was a polished and perfected first entry from the young singer, poised with a level of introspection generally reserved for artists with a lifetime's worth of perspective. Chapman’s uncanny ability to channel her subject's worldview with depth and compassion is marked by the album’s atmosphere of magnetic calm – both joyfully tender and stark, always fiercely optimistic. With singles like Fast Car and Talkin’ Bout A Revolution, Tracy Chapman became a multi-platinum worldwide hit, winning three Grammy Awards from six nominations.

'Fast Car'

Fast Car was the first single from 1988’s Tracy Chapman. The haunting piece about a woman seeking to escape the shackles of poverty counterbalances the weightiness of bleak recognition with quiet hope before erupting into a chorus of transformative positivity. When she performed at the internationally televised concert for Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday party, Fast Car was greeted with thunderous applause. The song struck an unexpected chord and started climbing the charts, peaking at #6 to become one of the most surprising Top 10 hits of the decade. 

'Baby Can I Hold You?' 

Tracy Chapman is notoriously private when it comes to matters of her personal life, however, skillfully crafted, androgynous love songs like Baby Can I Hold You and For My Lover (both from Tracy Chapman) welcome all listeners with universal subjectivity and give away a deeply romantic nature.

For My Lover

Give Me One Reason

The sultry blues jam, Give Me One Reason is a shining example of pop perfection. Chapman implores her lover to call her back and change her mind about leaving. The desire to feel wanted or needed is a simple, but fundamental truth at the heart of most human behaviour. The free-spirited ultimatum exists outside of context and sums up the complexity of credence in one line: “Give me one reason to stay here and I’ll turn right back around.” It doesn't even have to be a good one. 

The hit single, released in 1995 on her fourth album, New Beginning won the 1997 Grammy for Best Rock Song and remains Chapman's most successful single to date. 

'Stand By Me'

When Tracy Chapman sings Ben E. King’s Stand By Me it’s almost difficult to believe that it’s not her song. In this live clip from the David Letterman Show, Chapman delivers a compelling performance with nothing more than a tentatively picked guitar and the warmth of her voice, powered by conviction. 

'All That You Have Is Your Soul'

Tracy Chapman’s astonishing debut wasn’t just fan-powered, peers were equally awestruck by the pure and untouched vision of her first album. One such person was Neil Young, who told Spin Magazine in 1988 that Tracy Chapman had “the light” and swiftly cemented his admiration when he lent his guitar playing to All That You Have Is Your Soul during the recording of Crossroads in 1989. 


Celebrate all the genuine introspection, wisdom and unique perspective wrapped up in a catalogue spanning more than three decades with This Is Tracy Chapman on Spotify:

Listen to the Tracy Chapman Essentials on Apple Music:

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