Two lifelong friends decided to start a small passion project five years ago, highlighting some Christian music they grew up with and loved in the 1980s. Today that project has ballooned into over 13,000 videos and a following of tens of thousands of online users.
Scott Toderash and Ray Mansfield have been friends since they were in the sixth grade in Dauphin, Man. Back then, there weren't many options for Christian music, until they started to hear rumblings of something called "Christian rock."
"We were just starting to hear about the fact there was Christian rock music," Mansfield says. "We hadn't heard any yet, but we had heard of it."
When Mansfield took a trip south to Brandon, Man., he made a point of going to the local Christian bookstore called the Lighthouse. It was there that he picked up a copy of Resurrection Band's album, Rainbow's End. "That's where it started for us. No one had ever heard anything like that in our town," he says. Toderash adds that their pastor wasn't quite sure what to make of the new music but for young people seeking Jesus it was just what they wanted and needed.
A few years ago the two friends were talking about starting a YouTube channel together and Toderash says they decided to focus on their love for classic Christian music and seeing how they had an extensive collection of albums thought it was the perfect fit.
"We thought we knew everything," Toderash says as Mansfield chuckles. "I had every album we could ever want," he remembers thinking when they began. However, they quickly discovered that despite their large collections, there was a plethora of Christian music from the '80s that they had never heard. "We had no clue," Mansfield says.
As both the YouTube channel and Facebook group grew they started talking with others who share a love for CCM music and quickly began adding to their collection. Even artists have reached out to both thank the two men for what they're doing, as well as sharing recordings.
The duo posts entire albums and is able to tag the bands on YouTube so that the bands get royalties and ad revenue.
While many might instantly think of Petra and Stryper when hearing "classic Christian music," there were many groups doing different things like new wave. "Was there enough Devo and other styled stuff at the time? We could have had more," Toderash says. "People were out there doing different things and we just didn't get to hear it."
One such band that neither had heard of until recently was an English band called Writz.
Today, there are around 1,500 albums loaded to the Real '80s CCM YouTube channel and nearly 18,000 subscribers.
Mansfield figures they have about 500 more albums to convert to digital and upload, yet. Check out the full interview below and let us know what your favourite band or album from the '80s is. You can call or text us on the Dead Horse Sales & Rentals Talk & Text Line at 1.877.951.2486