John Hiatt: Greatest Hits (1999)

subtitled: The A&M Years ’87-’94

Greatest Hits

Track list:

01. Memphis In The Meantime
02. Perfectly Good Guitar
03. Thing Called Love
04. Slow Turning
05. Real Fine Love
06. Through Your Hands
07. Buffalo River Home
08. Feels Like Rain
09. Tennessee Plates
10. Thank You Girl
11. Drive South
12. Lipstick Sunset
13. Child Of The Wild Blue Yonder
14. Paper Thin
15. The Rest Of The Dream
16. Have A Little Faith In Me
17. Something Wild
18. Angel Eyes

Released: 1999
Label: A&M


Two months after Capitol’s The Best of John Hiatt 1973-1998 hit the stores, A&M released Greatest Hits: The A&M Years ’87-’94.

It’s hard to surmise what weird licensing agreements led to this release pattern, since the similarities will cause confusion even among dedicated fans, but there are notable differences between the two discs.

Since Hiatt’s albums for A&M in the late ’80s were his creative peak, it’s not surprising that Greatest Hits, which concentrates his A&M work, is a more consistent album than The Best of John Hiatt, which balances classic A&M cuts with two re-recorded songs, highlights from his two Capitol albums, and two new songs.

Aside from the inexplicable omission of “Slow Turning” and one of his best rockers, Greatest Hits contains all the A&M songs that are on The Best of John Hiatt (“Thing Called Love,” “Memphis in the Meantime,” “Child of the Wild Blue Yonder,” “Drive South,” “Buffalo River Home,” “Feels Like Rain,” “Perfectly Good Guitar,” “Tennessee Plates”), plus the original versions of “Drive South” and “Have a Little Faith in Me” (only available in butchered remakes on the Capitol disc), a live take of “Angel Eyes,” and several fine numbers, such as “Thank You Girl,” “Real Fine Love,” “Paper Thin,” “Lipstick Sunset,” and “Through Your Hands.”

There are some excellent songs from Bring the Family and Slow Turning missing, but Greatest Hits remains the compilation to get for casual fans.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine[]