Legendary WWE composer Jim Johnston has revealed that one of the most famous themes in WWE history was originally meant for Shawn Michaels.
During his 30 year tenure with WWE, Jim Johnston crafted some of the most iconic wrestling theme songs in history. He’s credited with creating theme music for the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Vince McMahon and hundreds more.
Speaking during an appearance on the RRBG Podcast, Johnston dived into his career with WWE which came to an end in 2017.
The composer touched on many of the famous themes that he wrote, before clearing up some long-standing misinformation about one that he didn’t. Johnston explained that he is wrongfully said to have written Shawn Michaels’ famous “Sexy Boy” theme, despite it actually being penned by Jimmy Hart.
However, he went on to reveal that one iconic theme that he did write was in fact meant for Shawn Michaels. Johnston described how the music he’d written for HBK, eventually would up being used for D-Generation X.
“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 continued, breaking down how he created the theme alongside Chris Warren who was the lead singer of the DX band.
“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.”
Due to his long tenure with company many have expected Jim Johnston to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Although things are seemingly not quite that simple.
Speaking earlier in 2021, Johnston said that the time for an induction has probably passed, and that he’d be uncomfortable if he were to be asked to be inducted.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.