Tonight during the Grammys, Tracy Chapman sang her song “Fast Car” along with Luke Combs (who covered the song last year), really beautiful.
As part of that renewed wave of attention I learned the story of the time she played the song to a full Wembley Station:
Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birtday / Wembley THE STORY BEHIND THIS PERFORMANCE
Stevie Wonder landed in England on the Saturday morning of the concert and went straight to Wembley Stadium, where a room was prepared for him and his band to warm up. He was to appear in the evening after UB40. His appearance had not been announced. UB40 were finishing their set on the main stage, and Wonder’s equipment was set up, plugged in and ready to be rolled on after a 10-minute act on a side stage. He was about to walk up the ramp to the stage when it was discovered that the hard disc of his synclavier, carrying all 25 minutes of synthesised music for his act, was missing. He said he could not play without it, turned round, walked down the ramp crying, with his band and other members of his entourage following him, and out of the stadium. There was an urgent need to fill the gap he had left and Tracy Chapman, who had already performed her act, agreed to appear again. The two appearances shot her to stardom, with two songs from her recently-released first album, “Fast Car” and “Talkin’ 'Bout a Revolution”. Before the concert, she had sold about 250,000 albums. In the following two weeks, she was said to have sold two million.