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Released: April 5, 1988

Rating: 4.382 (average of 19 ratings)

Genre: contemporary folk

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution [2:38]
  2. Fast Car [4:58]
  3. Across the Lines [3:22]
  4. Behind the Wall [1:46]
  5. Baby Can I Hold You [3:16]
  6. Mountains O’ Things [4:37]
  7. She’s Got Her Ticket [3:54]
  8. Why? [2:01]
  9. For My Lover [3:15]
  10. If Not Now… [2:55]
  11. For You [3:09]

All songs written by Tracy Chapman.

Total Running Time: 35:51

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 6.0
sales in U.K. only - estimated 2.4
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 20.4


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 1 1
peak on U.K. album chart 1 3

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Fast Car (5/7/88) #6 US, #5 UK, #7 AC, #19 AR
  • Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution (7/30/88) #75 US, #45 AC, #22 AR, #24 MR
  • Baby Can I Hold You (11/5/88) #48 US, #19 AC


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of my personal top 100 albums of all time. Click to learn more. my favorite album of the year One of the Top 100 All-Time World’s Best-Selling Albums The World’s Best Selling Album of the Year. Click to go to awards page.

Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman
“Arriving with little fanfare in the spring of 1988, Tracy Chapman's eponymous debut album became one of the key records of the Bush era, providing a touchstone for the entire PC movement while reviving the singer/songwriter tradition. And Tracy Chapman is firmly within the classic singer/songwriter tradition, sounding for all the world as if it was recorded in the early ‘70s – that is, if all you paid attention to were the sonics, since Chapman's songs are clearly a result of the Reagan revolution. Even the love songs and laments are underscored by a realized vision of trickle-down modern life – listen to the lyrical details of Fast Car for proof.” STE

“Chapman’s impassioned liberal activism and emotional resonance enlivens her music, breathing life into her songs even when the production is a little bit too clean. Still, the juxtaposition of contemporary themes and classic production precisely is what makes the album distinctive – it brings the traditions into the present. At the time, it revitalized traditional folk ideals of social activism and the like, kick starting the PC revolution in the process, but if those were its only merits, Tracy Chapman would sound dated. The record continues to sound fresh because Chapman's writing is so keenly observed and her strong, gutsy singing makes each song sound intimate and immediate.” STE

Review Source(s):

Fast Car

Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution (live)

Baby Can I Hold You (live)

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Last updated March 12, 2011.