Lush and evocative, this album is considered by many music critics as the band’s most enduring work, and one of the best pop albums released in the 1980s. After a prolonged delay in which an entire album’s worth of work was scrapped, The Blue Nile released Hats to rave reviews, including a rare five-star rating from Q magazine. In 2000, the same magazine placed it at number 92 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2006, Q Magazine placed the album at #38 in its list of “40 Best Albums of the ’80s”.
Hats is also The Blue Nile’s most successful album, reaching #12 on the UK album charts, and spawning three singles: “The Downtown Lights,” “Headlights on the Parade,” and “Saturday Night”. Rickie Lee Jones, a huge fan of the band, personally selected The Blue Nile as her opening act for her US tour in 1990. She would later record a duet with them, a cover of their own “Easter Parade,” which was featured as a B-side to the single “Headlights on the Parade”.