Jim Johnston has had a profound influence on my life, as I’m sure he has yours. If I had to choose one man as being responsible for the soundtrack of my life to date, it would be Jim Johnston. The first music I can recall hearing that didn’t come from Playdays, Arthur, Backstreet Boys or Oakie Doke came from Jim and probably goes a long way to explaining why I don’t have a real job at the moment. Thank you, Jim.
The genius behind Johnston’s music, for me, is the way he could capture a personality without using a single lyric whatsoever. He’d seemingly just look at a picture of a Superstar, maybe even a short clip of them walking to the ring, and create a piece of music that fit their character better than Mankind’s tights fit Mick Foley’s arse – and goodness me, were they snug or what?!
Jim’s departure from WWE is sad. When a man has been in a high profile role like that for 32 years and consistently knocked the ball out of the park during that time, reading about his release without any sort of well wishes from the company that reaped the benefits from his tenacity and genius – not to mention the fact they still haven’t recognised his achievements with a Hall of Fame induction – just rubs you up the wrong way, you know? Also, with his last big hit going down as Baron Corbin’s ‘Bring the Darkness’ (End of Days), featuring vocals from Tommy Vext, it’s clear the man still has a whole lot to give to the business. I’m sure the call made by WWE to not renew Jim’s contract was the right one from their point of view, given that we don’t really know the details surrounding the decision. But for a fan looking in from the outside, it just feels wrong.
Over here in the United Kingdom, we have a thing that happens on the radio every Sunday called ‘The Official UK Top 40 Singles Chart’ which is a very stressful show to listen to indeed. I don’t listen to it anymore, but I can recall travelling back home from football matches when I was a kid and only getting down to number 17 during the course of my journey, even though there was clearly enough time to get to number one. Those reckless DJs would just waste time talking about the colour of the plant pot in their downstairs toilet and it would drive me insane. JUST PLAY THE F*****G MUSIC MAN!
I’ve got to be honest, I fully intended to make a Jim Johnson WWE Top 40 article here but the further I dug, the bigger the number of gems that wouldn’t make the cut became. So I said ‘screw it,’ let’s include all of the best tunes and make this a greatest hits compilation.
I’m not a music journalist so I won’t be able to add any modicum of insightful commentary as to what makes the following songs great. They just make my toes tap, as I’m sure they do yours. Let’s celebrate Jim’s back catalogue of work by just listening to them. No hype or redundant hyperbole, no downstairs toilet plant pots, just quality tunes, mate.
I guess if this article is ever released on CD it would be called Now That’s What I Call Jim Johnston, so let’s just enjoy these bangers for what they’re worth and pay homage to a fantastic musical legacy. Thank you, Jim.
HEY! According to the credits on the WWE Anthology album, Hulk Hogan’s ‘Real American’ (written by Rick Derringer and Kenny Bernhard), Bret Hart’s ‘Hitman’ (written by Jimmy Hart and J.J. Maguire), Million Dollar Man’s ‘It’s All About The Money’ (written by Hart and Maguire), Shawn Michaels’ ‘Sexy Boy’ (also written by Hart and Maguire) and Honkey Tonk Man’s ‘Cool Cocky Bad (written by Hart) can’t be claimed by Jim and do not make this list.
I know, I didn’t know either…