Tracy Chapman

Why is she/are they included here?

For a few years, Tracy Chapman’s music was a constant presence in my life. Her rich voice and poignant lyrics surrounded me. I still find myself humming tunes she wrote and thinking about lyrics she penned. Powerful memories, powerful words.

Active period:

1980s to present

My favourites:

Talkin’ bout a revolution,  Across the lines,  Behind the wall, Fast Car


There’s a power in words. There’s a power in being able to explain and describe and articulate what you know and feel and believe about the world, and about yourself.

Frequent collaborators:


Song writing:


Other performance skills:

Plays guitar and harmonica

Samples of lyrics:

Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs

Talkin’ about a revolution, 1988

She has been clear-cut
She has been dumped on
She has been poisoned and beaten up
And we have been witness
To the rape of the world

The Rape of the World, 1995

How to listen to their stuff:

Available through many music outlets.

Other accomplishments:

  • In 1988, Tracy, together with Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Youssou N’Dour participated in a worldwide tour for Amnesty International.
  • Chapman was given an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts by her alma mater, Tufts University, recognizing her commitment to social activism.
  • Tracy has performed at many concerts for charitable causes.

Gallery of moments: