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Slug Line

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Album Review

Conventional wisdom at the time was that MCA Records had signed John Hiatt (who had languished without a record contract for four years) with the idea that he would be their Elvis Costello — a singer/songwriter in the fashionable punk/new wave style. Certainly, Hiatt has stripped down and roughed up from his Epic records here, fronting a straight-ahead guitar rock band (that was capable, of course, of playing the obligatory reggae number), eschewing the stylistic diversity he reveled in before, and throwing out snappy, aphoristic lyrics in a highly processed voice. None of this quite turns him into Elvis Costello, although the mean streak he reveals would serve him well later.


Born: 1952 in Indianapolis, IN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

John Hiatt's sales have never quite matched his reputation. Hiatt's songs were covered successfully by everyone from Bonnie Raitt, Ronnie Milsap, and Dr. Feelgood to Iggy Pop, Three Dog Night, and the Neville Brothers, yet it took him 13 years to reach the charts himself. Of course, it took him nearly that long to find his own style. Hiatt began his solo career in 1974, and over the next decade he ran through a number of different styles, from rock & roll to new wave pop, before he finally settled...
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Slug Line, John Hiatt
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