Hiatt was working as a songwriter for Tree International, a record label in Nashville, when his song “Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here” was covered by Three Dog Night. The song became a Top 40 hit, earning Hiatt a recording contract with Epic Records. Since then he has released twenty one studio albums, two compilation albums and one live album. His songs have been covered by a variety of artists in multiple genres, including Bob Dylan, The Searchers, Willy DeVille, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, Willie Nelson, Three Dog Night, Joan Baez, Paula Abdul, Buddy Guy, the Desert Rose Band, Jimmy Buffett, Mandy Moore, Iggy Pop, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rosanne Cash, Suzy Bogguss, Jewel, Aaron Neville, Jeff Healey, Keith Urban, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, Paulini and many others. The Dutch singer/songwriter Ilse DeLange recorded the album Dear John with nine of his songs.