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Passion: Online learning that will shake your hips

After having taken several free rock ‘n’ roll music courses online, I’m here to testify that the best of the lot – and they’ve all been a blast – is “The Music of the Rolling Stones. 1962-74.” The on-demand offering, composed of seven two-hourish videos, follows the boys from their beginnings as an American Blues cover band through the pinnacle of their “Exile on Main Street” masterpiece, ending with “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

The class, engagingly taught by University of Rochester professor John Covach, focuses on the music – as opposed to celebrity worship – but includes plenty of context that helps you fully grasp their command of blues, gospel, country, R&B and early rock that came to form their signature sound.

It’s far more sophisticated than an intro course. Many fans with a decent grasp will still come away with plenty of discoveries. For my part, I gained a better understanding of the Brian Jones era, reveled in the discovery of a steel guitar version of “Heart of Stone,” and appreciated Covach’s game (if not totally convincing) defense of “Their Satanic Majesties Request.”

Copyright fears prevent the use of Stones tunes during the class. But don’t let that be a deal-breaker. It’s all on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, etc. Need to Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out? Visit coursera.org and enroll.

Passion is an occasional series in which writers share something that has moved or inspired them, or simply something they love.

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