Can you hear what The Rock is play­ing?

Dwayne John­son pro­duced CNN show about mu­si­cal mo­ments in his­tory


When The Rock tells you to lis­ten to some­thing, you lis­ten. On pain of danger­ously cocked eye­brow, you lis­ten. In the case of his new CNN show, Sound­tracks: Songs That De­fined His­tory, The Rock wants you to check out mu­sic that’s tied to piv­otal mo­ments in the past.

Sound­tracks de­buts Thurs­day with an episode cen­tred on the death of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights-themed mu­sic that came af­ter­ward. Among the high­lights: James Brown’s 1968 an­them Say it Loud (I’m Black and

I’m Proud) and Ken­drick La­mar’s 2015 protest song Al­right.

The sub­se­quent seven episodes fo­cus on 9/11, the Viet­nam War, Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina, the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, the moon land­ing, the Stonewall ri­ots and the ten­nis match be­tween Bil­lie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, which gal­va­nized the women’s move­ment.

The Rock (a.k.a. Dwayne John­son), who’s an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer for Sound­tracks, talked about the mu­sic in­ter­twined with the phases of his own life in a clip pro­mot­ing the show.

“When I was younger and starv­ing and strug­gling and lit­er­ally we were get­ting evicted out of our apart­ment, the mu­sic that moved me at that time wasn’t sen­ti­men­tal mu­sic. It was more ag­gres­sive, more ag­gres­sive hip-hop. It was ‘I’m broke and I want to get bet­ter. I’m broke and I want to make money,’ ” he says.

“Then as I got a lit­tle older and I be­came a pro­fes­sional wrestler, and the world of wrestling — much like these mu­si­cians — our life is on the road and we live on the road. There wasn’t a big tour bus for me. I drove my­self ev­ery­where. The sound­track for my life for years be­came re­ally tra­di­tional coun­try mu­sic.”

The show also fea­tures archival footage and in­ter­views with peo­ple in­clud­ing Billy Joel, Smokey Robin­son, Pat Be­natar, Paul Si­mon, Ge­orge Clin­ton, Neil de­Grasse Tyson and Rev­erend Al Sharp­ton. Sound­tracks fol­lows the suc­cess of last year’s mu­sic-based doc­u­men­tary se­ries — among them PBS’s Sound­break­ing: Sto­ries From the Cut­ting Edge of Recorded Mu­sic and HBO Canada’s Hip-Hop Evo­lu­tion, which re­cently won a Peabody Award.

Puff piece

F*ck, That’s De­li­cious, the Viceland show spot­light­ing rap­per and chef Ac­tion Bron­son, airs a spe­cial episode on 4/20, the widely ac­knowl­edged in­ter­na­tional day de­voted to cannabis. In the se­ries, Ac­tion Bron­son and his buds Mey­hem Lau­ren, The Al­chemist and Big Body Bes travel the globe per­form­ing at con­certs and en­joy­ing all man­ner of food, wine and herbs. The episode ti­tled

Heady New York Spe­cial fea­tures the crew tak­ing lo­cal ston­ers and tourists on an ex­ca­va­tion of the city’s munchies.

In a gig­gle-filled ex­tra scene posted on YouTube, they visit Tokyo Teriyaki in Queens — across the street from where Ac­tion Bron­son went to ju­nior high — for a chicken katsu sand­wich and teriyaki. It’s a combo Bron­son calls “stoner bliss.”


Dwayne John­son at­tend­ing the New York Pre­miere of The Fate of the Fu­ri­ous at Ra­dio City Mu­sic Hall in New York City.

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