The ten best melodic rock albums cover four decades of music and a wide variety of musical styles. Melodic rock is a term used to describe music that has a strong melody line that is easy to hum along to, or music that sticks in your mind. When you least expect it, you're humming along with the catchy melodic tune. Classes of rock that carry melodic lines that have a strong and memorable hooks and choruses that frequently repeat include:
- "Minute by Minute" by the Doobie Brothers. This northern California group is a master of the melodic rock genre and has released many contenders for the list. The Doobies are still touring the rock circuit today, but their best melodic rock album remains "Minute by Minute" released in 1979. The album reached #1 on the pop albums and featured the popular tunes "Minute by Minute," "What a Fool Believes" and "Dependin' On You."
- Chicago's second, self-titled album. Melodic music masters, the group Chicago underwent numerous personnel changes but still could produce a distinctive style despite the new musicians in the band. The second album is the standard bearer for melodic tunes. Released in 1970, "Chicago II," as it's sometimes called, includes "25 or 6 to 4" and songs in several movements including "Memories of Love."
- "Working Class Dog" by Rick Springfield. Actor, songwriter and musician Rick Springfield knows how to write a song with a memorable hook. "Working Class Dog" features the melodic rock standards: "Jessie's Girl" about a guy wishing his best friend's girlfriend belonged to him, and "I've Done Everything For You," a tune that features Rick and rocker Sammy Hager. The album went multi-platinum and "Jessie's Girl" won a Grammy.
- "Rio by Duran, Duran." After a first self-titled album that went relatively unnoticed in 1981, Duran Duran hit pay dirt in the melodic album list with "Rio" the next year. The album includes "My Own Way," "Hungry Like a Wolf," "Save a Prayer," and the title tune.
- "Abandoned Luncheonette" by Hall and Oates. This duo has a number of albums that could be contenders on the best melodic rock album list but "Abandoned Luncheonette" comes in as a major hit for the list for the hit signals "When The Morning Comes," "She's Gone," and "Las Vegas Turnaround" featured on this 1973 release.
- "Back in the High Life" by Steve Winwood. This solo album contribution by the former member of Traffic, makes the best melodic album list with the hit tunes "Higher Love" and "Wake Me Up on Judgement Day." The melodic "Higher Love" has been re-recorded by Warren Zevon and Whitney Houston.
- "Little Queen" by Heart. This melodic rock group's album featured three top hits including: "Barracuda," "Kick It Out," and "Little Queen." The Wilson sisters created tunes that continue to be played on rock radio today.
- "Frontiers" by Journey. This melodic 1983 album release includes the melodic ballads "After the Fall," "Send Her My Love," and "Faithfully," all toe tappers and tunes that are easy to hum along with the recording.
- "Alive!" by Kiss. This 1975 released provided the memorable tunes "Rock and Roll All Nite," a Kiss standard that earned the famous-faced group a top 40 chart topper and a gold record. The tune continues to be an oldies radio standard.
- "1984" by Van Halen. Although the rock group Van Halen can rock with the heaviest metal group, the tunes on "1984" meet the standards for melodic rock. The synthesizer-driven tune "Jump" and Eddie Van Halen's driving guitar work on this tune cement a spot on a list of the best melodic rock albums.
Humphries, Jamie. "Giants of Rock." Music Sales America, 2006.