For more than 30 years, Jim Johnston produced the vast majority of all the entrance themes in WWE. Some came easier than others. One that did not? The now-iconic entrance music for The Undertaker.
During an interview on Prime Time with Sean Mooney podcast, which was Johnston's first interview since leaving WWE late last year, he described his challenges coming up with the music. Johnston noted that, at the time, he was given a couple of sentences' direction on each wrestler's character and then turned loose to write.
“I was just trapped with, he's a dead guy. I didn't receive a lot of input, other than, well, he's this huge kinda dead guy. So in thinking about that, actively actually dead? We're never going to see him? How does this work? Then in thinking about it and seeing just a little bit of footage about him, there was this that struck me, there was this tragedy element to me. This very sad, tragic element where it's like, what happened to this guy? What made him this way? Was he injured? Was he beaten? Tortured? What made him so dark and what drew him so strongly to death and the dark side and graveyards and everything."
Johnston finally found the song by thinking of Undertaker from the perspective of those watching him, rather than music for Steve Austin, which he said was written from the perspective of "Stone Cold."
"I took most of the things I write really seriously, of trying to get into the person's character, because I always felt like that's my job," Johnston said. "I'm supposed to be writing a score to this guy. It's definitely a little bit of a complaint that I have to where the business has gone. The music has become, it's more of a commodity."
At the close of the interview, Johnston had some kind words for Undertaker, referring to him by his first name, Mark, and describing him as "just an incredibly sweet man. He has always been incredibly kind and gracious and I'm so appreciative for that. It means a lot to me."