One Woman. One Guitar. Tracy Silences 60,000 Agitated Concertgoers

February 1, 2023

In 1988, Tracy Chapman captivated a crowd of 60,000 with her performance of "Fast Car" at Wembley Stadium. It wasn't until this performance that the song became a huge hit.

Here's the amazing story behind this moment:

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 synthesized 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.

 

The crowd was getting restless.

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. She decided to play two new songs, "Fast Car" and "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution".

Before the concert, she had sold about 250,000 albums. In the following weeks, she was said to have sold two million.

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