Legendary WWE composer Jim Johnston has talked about how one of the most iconic themes in the company’s history came about, and that it was originally meant to be used for Shawn Michaels.
Jim Johnston worked for WWE for over 30 years, and is credited with being the visionary behind many of the top entrance themes the company ever used. Whilst his credit list runs in to the hundreds, some of the most iconic were for the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker and Vince McMahon.
Speaking during an appearance on the RRBG Podcast, Johnston spoke about some of the themes he made during his time in WWE – and even one which he didn’t even though he is often credited for it.
Johnston spoke of Shawn Michaels’ Sexy Boy theme, and that people often think it was one of his creations when in actual fact it was penned by Jimmy Hart.
However, one which Jim Johnston did get the credit for was D-Generation X’s music, although he stated that it was originally designed for ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ as singles music.
A lot of time it gets a little confused because I did write a theme for Shawn Michaels and that was — D-Generation X, I originally wrote for Shawn Michaels. By the time it was out there, he had hooked up with Hunter and it had become a group entity very quickly,
Jim Johnston went on to discuss how he collaborated with lead singer Chris Warren on the project.
Chris Warren, who did the singing, that’s what he did and I was definitely trying to do something in that style that was the white rock-rapper vibe. It was fun to do. What I think is the best trivia about that piece of music was, somehow, I got away with something that there’s no way I’d get away with which is — Themes have an — Undertaker bell, boom, music. Glass break, music. It’s right into it. It’s not like, ‘Hey, let’s hang out and have a nice little intro. I just became fascinated, and I think part of it was Chris’ voice. He just has this snide, implied ‘Go screw yourself’ with anything he says.
Just really the kick drum only. It was playing in the studio and I was doing something else and then I was just sort of thinking, ‘Wait a second.’ It’s so interesting how this happens when you’re putting music together. Happy accidents. Boy, do I love happy accidents. I wasn’t trying to write an intro. I accidentally left the machine still running and here’s the [kick drum]. So I just find myself getting into the mood of that and I found myself starting to say stuff. So I set up a long loop of that.
I set up two microphones, one with Chris facing me and I said, ‘Chris, with your snide, crazy voice, just repeat everything I say.’ He stood there for about 15 minutes of my just thinking of anything I could think of. Then put it on an intro and I loved it, but I thought Vince was going to say, ‘What’s with the 20-second intro before we get into the hook of the song?’ Fortunately, everybody liked it.
Many have claimed that Jim Johnston deserves to be inducted in to the WWE Hall Of Fame, although he commented earlier this year that he would feel uncomfortable if that were to happen.
Whatever music he came to the ring with, Shawn Michaels will always be known as one of the top stars in the industry. Kurt Angle commented recently that ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ can be credited as the best overall entertainer in the history of wrestling.
With thanks to Fightful for the transcription.