Jimmy Hart

Rolling Stone Remembers ‘The Wrestling Album’ At 30; WWE Legends Reveal Behind-The-Scenes Stories

Rolling Stone spoke with manager/musician Jimmy Hart, producer/writer Rick Derringer and former WWE star Hillbilly Jim about working on the project and behind-the-scenes stories. You can read a few excerpts below: 

Derringer comments on some of the more musically talented Superstars:

I wrote a couple of the songs on there, David Wolff gave some others to me – sometimes, they would tell us, “Here’s this song for this guy, can you make it work?” But, in some cases, the wrestlers turned out to be very talented. Hillbilly Jim, Gene Okerlund – he played rock & roll piano, Roddy Piper was pretty talented when it came to singing. Jimmy Hart was in the Gentrys. I remember doing “Grab Them Cakes,” Vicki Sue Robinson sang that, and she was great, of course, but I also remember being impressed by the wrestler who sang on that [the Junkyard Dog]; he was a real talent.

Jimmy Hart on how this record help pro wrestling: 

I might be wrong, but I think this was the first-ever wrestling record, and it really helped start this “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” era, where you had big stars and MTV hanging around with WWF wrestlers, and it really brought celebrity into what we do. And that’s still around today; music is so important – if you watch wrestlers go to the ring, the fans will pop as soon as they hear the music. And I think that was created by Dave Wolff and Vince McMahon, because without Vince giving it the OK, it never would’ve happened.

Hillbilly Jim shares his memories of the record’s success: 

I’ve got gold records for it in my house. I have buddies of mine who are good musicians, play in bands and are wonderful entertainers who are toiling away – and they’re never going to get one. I have two. I have a gold album for The Wrestling Album and one for Piledriver, the follow-up album. It’s a little hokey, but as time has gone by, The Wrestling Album has come to mean a lot to me. I remember when we shot the album cover. I remember when we shot the video. We just did our thing. It was a magical time.