The Best of (the millenium collection)


2003, september 16, A&M

CD. 000090202

Memphis in the meantime

(From Bring The Family)

3:59 30 seconds preview

riding with the king

(from riding with the king)

4:18 30 seconds preview

Thing called love

(From Bring The Family)

4:11 30 seconds preview

Tennessee plates

(From Slow Turning)

2:56 30 seconds preview
5 Slow turning

(From Slow Turning)

3:37 30 seconds preview
6 Have a little faith in me

(From Bring The Family)

4:03 30 seconds preview

Real fine love

(from stolen moments)

4:20 30 seconds preview

Perfectly good guitar

(from perfectly good guitar)

4:38 30 seconds preview
9 thank you girl

(From Bring The Family)

4:08 30 seconds preview
10 Feels like rain

(From Slow Turning)

4:50 30 seconds preview
11 Buffalo river home

(from perfectly good guitar)

5:11 30 seconds preview
12 angel

(from perfectly good guitar)

3:18 30 seconds preview

Total running time:



compilation Produced: mike ragogna
production coordination:

Adam Abrams

art direction: vartan

mike fink @ilevel

photo research: ryan null



robert frank

A&M records archives

credits page:

steven M martin

A&M records archives

booklet back cover:

jim mcGuire

liner notes & inlay:

ebert roberts

chansley entertainment archives

CD tray:

henry diltz

chansley entertainment archives


thanks to
UMe special thanks to john hiatt, ken levitan, joel hoffner & vector management

John hiatt is represented by vector management, nashville, TN


  • All songs written by John Hiatt

  • 96k/24-bit mastered from the original master tapes by erick labson @ universal mastering studios west north hollywood, CA


liner notes

It's hard to imagine an artist's rebirth after releasing seven albums on three different labels. But, that's exactly what happened to John Hiatt.

John Hiatt's albums for Epic, MCA and Geffen Records were eclectic and entertaining, and one thing was constant - great songwriting. Artists from Three Dog Night to Conway Twitty had hits with his songs early on, but the public wasn't latching on to the originals. Moving from label to label and being tagged as "the next Elvis Costello" didn't help. After years of writing and recording, his growing problems with alcohol, the death of his second wife and the fact that 1985's Warming Up To The Ice Age failed to set a fire, Hiatt knew it was time for a break. So, he cleaned up, signed a contract with a fourth label (A&M) and - 13 years after releasing his first album - reinvented himself.
Hiatt contacted former colleagues Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner. The four of them, along with producer John Chelew, went into the studio with a batch of Hiatt originals and four days later
emerged with a new album, an innovative, rootsy sound and the strongest release of Hiatt's career. Bring The Family hit the streets in 1987 and was not only critically lauded, but became his first charting album. Filled with gems like "Memphis In The Meantime," "Thing Called Love" and "Thank You Girl," Hiatt seemed to have finally found his groove. Other artists agreed, as "Have A Little Faith In Me" would eventually be covered by many performers including Joe Cocker, Delbert McClinton and Jewel.
The lineup from Bring The Family was unavailable to record a follow-up, so Hiatt took his live band, The Goners, into the studio the following year with veteran producer Glyn Johns. Slow Turning (1988) was the result, and it proved that the brilliance and success of Bring The Family was no accident. The title track and "Tennessee Plates" rocked on while "Feels Like Rain" showed that Hiatt hadn't lost his knack for a powerful ballad.
Hiatt was on a roll. In 1989, his MCA and Geffen repertoire was chronicled on Y'AII Caught? The Ones That Got Away 19791985. In addition, Bonnie Raitt had an amazing year - spearheaded by the success of her Hiatt cover, "Thing Called Love."
In 1990, Hiatt reemerged with Stolen Moments - his highest charting album to date. "Real Fine Love" was yet another example of the songwriter as storyteller, and the album's "Bring Back Your Love To Me" won a BMI Country Music Award in 1991, thanks to a version recorded by country legend Earl Thomas Conley.
The Bring The Family lineup reunited in 1992 for an album and tour as Little Village. After working with the established, Hiatt moved toward the contemporary. Exit Glyn Johns, enter Matt
Wallace - who had produced the Replacements and Faith No More. Exit Cooder, Lowe and Keltner, enter members of School Of Fish
and Wire Train. This infusion of youth and energy radiated through 1993's Perfectly Good Guitar. The title cut assaulted radio, while songs like "Buffalo River Home" and "Angel" continued to build his fan base. Hiatt released a live collection in late 1994 of some of his best A&M material. Hiatt Comes Alive At Budokan? was recorded across the U.S. during the Perfectly Good Guitar tour with his new backing band, the Guilty Dogs. But Hiatt's first live album would be his last album for A&M.
Even after five more strong albums on three more labels,
it's hard to deny that Hiatt's tenure at A&M was a pinnacle in his career. And with artists still lining up to record his material- the title track from 1983's Riding With The King would find a similar position on B.B. King and Eric Clapton's duet album seventeen
years later - there will always be another group of music fans just a cover version away from discovering that exquisite original.

Lee Lodyga
Los Angeles - 2003

So just how many John Hiatt compilations does the world need? For a guy who has never quite landed a hit, Hiatt has certainly spawned more than his fair share of career overview albums, and 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of John Hiatt is the sixth to appear in stores since 1996. Featuring 11 songs recorded during his tenure at A&M Records, with one stray track from his years at Geffen, more than half of the tracks on 20th Century Masters were taken from Bring the Family and Slow Turning, the outstanding one-two punch that re-established Hiatt's recording career and kicked off his contract with A&M, while the others are fine songs cherry-picked from more uneven albums (except for "Perfectly Good Guitar," an amusing but slight tune that got some airplay as a single, explaining its presence here). As a career retrospective, this set doesn't hold a candle to Hip-O's superb Anthology, and Greatest Hits: The A&M Years '87-'94 does a much better job of gleaning the highlights from this period, so it's hard to say just what purpose this disc is intended to serve. It's also worth remembering that Bring the Family and Slow Turning, still the two best albums Hiatt has recorded to date, are both still in print and well worth hearing in their entirety. However, 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection is a well-assembled collection of great songs, and it's midline priced, so if you're a casual observer of Hiatt's career, this will give you 49 minutes of music well worth hearing. But if you want to dig deeper into Hiatt's work, look elsewhere.