We will survey the music of the Rolling Stones, focusing on the stylistic development of the band over the 1962-74 period. The Stones arose out of the London blues revival scene of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Initially a cover band playing a mix of blues and r&b numbers, Jagger and Richards soon began writing their own music. When the Beatles ignited a craze for British music in the US, the Stones came to be seen as the bad boys to the Beatles good-boy image. As the 60s came to a close, the Stones’ blend of blues and rock matured, and the band produced classic albums such as Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street. This course will track the development of the band, focusing on the music but also taking into account the group’s biography and the cultural context of the times.
Week 1: “Students of the Blues” — Beginnings through the release of the early singles, and album, 1962-64.
Week 2: “Satisfaction” — 1965, the big breakthrough in the US, singles and albums through December 1965.
Week 3: “Paint It Black” — 1966, singles, compilations, and the live experience.
Week 4: “Their Satanic Majesties” — 1967 and the rise of psychedelia, in the shadow of the Beatles?
Week 5: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” — The Stones leave peace and love behind, jumping and fighting with some sympathy for the Devil, 1968-69.
Week 6: “Brown Sugar and Wild Horses” — The band defines 70s rock with two classic albums, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, 1970-72.
Week 7: “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” — Continuing at the height of their musical powers, the group releases Goat’s Head Soup and It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1973-74.
No previous training in music is required. A background in the history of rock music during the 1955-75 period will be useful.
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions, 1962-2012 (Cherry Red Books, 2012)
Andrew Loog Oldham, Stoned: A Memoir of London in the 1960s (St. Martin’s Press, 2001)
Bill Wyman, Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band (Da Capo, 1997)
The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 8 and 12 minutes in length. These contain an integrated quiz question per video.
Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.
What resources will I need for this class?
For this course, all you need is an Internet connection, a willingness to seek out the music, and the time to view the lectures, listen to the music, and discuss the Rolling Stones in the online forum.
I have never studied music before. Can I still take this course?
Yes, absolutely. While there will be musical details discussed, much of the information provided in this course is meant for the general student. Lack of musical training should not impact your ability to perform well on the quizzes.