This collection documents Graham Parker's 1979-1983 stint with Arista Records, perhaps the most important phase in his career. Parker's fourth album with The Rumour—1979's Squeezing Out Sparks—wasn't just his first Arista outing but the one where he left his roots-rocking, soul-influenced sound behind for a leaner, harder, more new wavey style, crafting a broadly beloved classic in the process. So it's no wonder that album dominates this anthology; any record that can go from the emotional (and musical) ferocity of "Nobody Hurts You" to the tear-tugging (but never mawkish) "You Can't Be Too Strong" is well worth documenting. The sardonic sing-along "Stupefaction" and the Bruce Springsteen–assisted rocker "Endless Night" were highlights of the follow-up, The Up Escalator. Then Parker bid The Rumour goodbye, but "Big Fat Zero" shows he could still rock even when Rumour-less. "Life Gets Better" suggests that as the Angry Young Man matured, he wasn't above a pop-leaning love song. Master Hits is relatively short but captures the essentials of a crucial Parker period.