The Roots’ Questlove – drummer, DJ, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon sidekick and man about town – will soon be Prof Questo.
Questlove will teach a course on classic albums this coming spring semester at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music, Billboard reports. His co-professor will be Harry Weinger, the vice president of A&R at Universal’s catalogue division (Universal Music Enterprises) and the Grammy-winning producer behind a number of Motown reissues.
The class will tackle the nebulous concept of what it means for an album to be considered “classic” or “seminal” and how an LP arrives at such a high title, including why the albums have endured through the years. Additionally, the two-credit course will examine the promotion and marketing on the albums, as well as the production and, of course, the songs themselves.
The idea for the course stemmed from the controversy surrounding an essay in NPR Music’s “You Never Heard…” series, which features interns’ reviews of classic albums they’re hearing for the very first time. One writer dismissed Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back in a post this summer, which prompted Questlove to both tweet his criticism and comment on the story. This response prompted the Clive Davis Institute professor Jason King to reach out to Questo and Weinger regarding the idea of a classic albums course.
So which classic LPs will make the curriculum? Aretha Franklin’s Lady Soul (1968), Led Zeppelin’s IV (1971), Prince’s Dirty Mind (1980), Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall (1979), the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique (1989), Sly & The Family Stone’s Stand! (1969) There’s A Riot Goin’ On (1971), and more.
A few albums we’d like to see Questlove tackle in the course: The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Paul Simon’s Graceland, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Clash’s London Calling, Stevie Wonder’s entire “classic period” from 1972-’76, at least one Dylan album (or a whole section on him), and many, many more. We’re not quite sure how they’ll fit them all in one semester.
Which albums do you think deserve dissection in Questlove’s classic albums class? Sound off in the comments below.
- Jillian Mapes, CBS Local