James "Jim" Alan Johnston (* 1959) is a music composer who has been working for World Wrestling Entertainment since the 1980s until 2017; His work is often accredited to the name James A. Johnston.
Johnston's chief role in WWE was providing the soundtrack for WWE programming, in addition to providing musical content for WWE's large output of video games, website content and entrance themes for WWE Superstars and Divas. Johnston achieved fame for producing many of the memorable entrance theme songs for the WWE Superstars, including the likes of The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mr. McMahon amongst hundreds of other superstars, many of which have been released on commercial albums and through iTunes. In 2014, CFO$ took over responsibility for creating entrance themes and musical content for WWE's television output. This was done at the request of WWE Music Group GM Neil Lawi, who wanted to utilize the existing working relationship he had with John Alicastro and Michael Lauri. This meant a forced reduction in Johnston's input into creating new superstar entrance themes after that date.
Beyond Superstars entrance themes, Johnston composed music for the majority of WWE's pay-per-views and television productions, including show themes, music videos, vignettes, commercials, and tributes. He likens his work to that of scoring a live action movie, "A standard scenario is we get a call from our executive producer: 'We've got a new guy coming', or 'He's breaking out of a tag team and he needs music'. It's like scoring for a movie: is he a good guy or a bad guy? Is he light and svelte and quick-moving, which dictates a fast tempo, or is he a big plodding kind of a guy, in which case you need a big, heavy, the-wrath-of-God-is-coming-upon-us sound?".
Johnston has also scored several film projects for WWE's film division WWE Studios, these include The Chaperone, That's What I Am, and The Reunion. He also provided music for other WWE-affiliated products including the World Bodybuilding Federation and the XFL.
Johnston is well known for writing, composing and producing all his compositions alone, in addition to playing all instruments. He will occasionally recruit outside vocalists or additional musicians to contribute when the piece requires, and often prefers to bring in unsigned bands and new artists to provide vocals. In 2008, Johnston publicly expressed his frustration to Billboard at the inability of WWE to secure better promotional deals with artists due to a lack of understanding of the WWE product. He said, "One of my frustrations is getting the word out about just how much music is used in our product. The labels will stumble over themselves to get on MTV, but no one's watching MTV". Conversely, WWE and Johnston have been responsible for helping to fuel a surge in sales for associated acts such as Fuel, Shinedown and Motörhead through their use in WWE productions.
On November 30, 2017 WWE announced that Jim Johnston was released from his contract, ending his 32-year run with the company.