BackToThe80s.com is brought to you by three guys with a deep appreciation music of the 1980s: Will Nicholes, Randy Monnin and Michael S. Miller. The three first worked together in the early 1990s on the University of Toledo student newspaper as writers and editors of the Arts & Life section. Among the early highlights: a review of a Steve Miller concert (in which, for some reason, Steve left the “black panties with an angel’s face” line out of “Abracadabra”) and a review of the then-new Yes boxed set berating the band for leaving out “Leave It.” (For this and more inexplicable “greatest hits” omissions, check out our Greatest Misses page.)
After the three outgrew the student newspaper, they started their own arts and entertainment magazine, Spectrum, in which their love of ’80s music was still visible. A couple of years after the conclusion of that project, they reunited, this time as radio DJs, to host “Lost in the ’80s,” a celebration of the big hits and lost classics (and the first show of its kind on the WXUT airwaves.)
With BackToThe80s.com, they hope to recapture the spirit of the decade of greed and decadence with fun features, compilation reviews, and song, album and artist profiles. Take a look around, and let us know what you think!
Will began his love affair with pop music at the age of four with a 45 RPM record of “A Fifth of Beethoven” and a portable record player. By the age of ten, his collection of 45s had expanded to include Buckner and Garcia’s “Pac-Man Fever,” and “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys. By the following year, his musical tastes had dramatically improved, as had his record collection, which now boasted “Abracadabra” and “Centerfold.”
By 1986, cassette tapes (mostly Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, with a few one-hit wonders thrown in for good measure) had begun to outnumber the records in his collection. Although the 45s and tapes have since between (mostly) replaced by CDs, the music of the ’80s still remains the favorite part of his music collection today.
As the youngest of three brothers, Randy expected his musical tastes to have been well nurtured as a child. However, his earliest record collection of Bobby Bare’s “Singin’ in the Kitchen,” C.W. McCall’s “Convoy,” Tom T. Hall’s “Sneaky Snake,” and “Dancing Queen” by Abba would indicate otherwise. In 1982, he bought his last 45, the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira.” The following week, his house got hooked up with MTV and his musical tastes were immediately changed.
Growing up as a child of MTV, watching the flavor of the week during MTV’s golden age, Randy has always regarded ’80s music among his favorites. Early videos such as “Once In A Lifetime,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “She Blinded Me With Science” topped off his daily consumption of images and synths. Songs where the words didn’t matter, the name of the band didn’t matter, neither did the instruments they played nor how well they played them; if the song had a good beat, a catchy hook, and a great video – that’s Randy’s ’80s music.
Michael was raised on Beatles and Hillbilly music by such titans of the Ozarks as Bobby Bare and Tom T. Hall.
While sneaking a radio into the basement to hear the “Star Wars” theme by John Williams on a Toledo, OH, Sunday AM Top 40 show, he discovered that his parents were right; Rock and Roll is corrupting and dangerous. Michael immediately began a love affair with pop music, and remembers his dad throwing away a 45 of “Roxanne” by The Police, an act of parental suppression which, like all such maneuvers, strengthened the son’s love for the contraband.
A weekly trip to a record store that served bars and sold used 45s for 25 cents fed a record collection that at its zenith embraced everything synth and pop, especially releases with cool picture sleeves. The sleeve to “My Sharona” remains a personal favorite.
The ’80s remain a lucid and powerful era in Michael’s mind, with a soundtrack running through every failed seduction and most of the successful ones. Michael has never indulged in the “drugs” part of “sex, drugs and Rock and Roll,” but two out of three ain’t bad.