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"What's the theme for a dead guy?" - Jim Johnston on creating The Undertaker's WWE music (Exclusive)

The Undertaker debuted in WWE in 1990
The Undertaker debuted in WWE in 1990
Danny Hart
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Jim Johnston has explained how he composed The Undertaker’s “Rest In Peace” WWE entrance theme.

From 1985 to 2017, Johnston created music for WWE Superstars. While The Undertaker used several themes throughout his legendary 30-year career, “Rest In Peace” is undoubtedly his most memorable.

Johnston spoke to Dr. Chris Featherstone on SK Wrestling’s UnSKripted about his 32-year association with WWE. Regarding The Undertaker’s music, he revealed how he initially struggled to create a theme for The Deadman.

“The original composition was just a piano, which didn’t work at all. It worked, I couldn’t figure out, ‘What’s the theme for a dead guy?’ I finally got that idea from thinking about, ‘Well, it’s sort of like really sad music for a funeral,’ and I thought almost like a childlike theme. I wrote it really high on the piano, incredibly simple [plays theme].
“From there, I had the composition but then, ‘Okay, it can’t be a piano,’ so it’s got to be a church organ. Then maybe we add a choir, and later I added guitars, and later I added brass, and later I added more guitars. So it just kept growing, growing, growing. Undertaker, I think, without question, had the most unbelievable career of any wrestler anywhere, ever.”

Watch the video above to find out more about Jim Johnston’s WWE creations. In addition to The Undertaker’s theme, he also discussed The Rock, The Ultimate Warrior, and many more.

The Undertaker’s other WWE entrance themes

The Undertaker's theme drastically changed when he became The American Bada** in 2000
The Undertaker's theme drastically changed when he became The American Bada** in 2000

Jim Johnston’s “Rest In Peace” will forever be known as The Undertaker’s most famous WWE entrance music. Johnston also wrote “Dead Man Walkin’”, “Graveyard Symphony”, “Ministry”, “The Darkest Side”, and “You’re Gonna Pay” for The Undertaker.

The WWE icon’s other themes included “American Bad A**” (Kid Rock), “Rollin’” (Limp Bizkit), and “Ain’t No Grave” (Johnny Cash).

Please credit SK Wrestling’s UnSKripted and embed the video if you use quotes from this article.


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Edited by James Sullivan
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