1989 Information Society – Walking Away
Kurt Harland’s college dorm room in St. Paul, Minnesota, was the birthplace of the band InSoc. The name came from a modification of the term Ingsoc (English Socialism government) from the novel 1984. Kurt sang and he and Paul Robb both played keyboards and did some percussion work. The other two members at first were Pamela Tzara and Heather LeFay.
The group played avant-garde electronic music. By 1983, the girls had both left the group. New members included James Cassidy as their bass player and singer/songwriter Murat Konar as the new lead vocalist. Five more members came and went over the next two years.
Murat wrote the song Running, which the group recorded in 1985 with Murat singing lead vocals. Twin-Tone Records released the seven-minute single, which promptly reached the top ten on the US Dance Songs chart. Murat then left the group and keyboard player Amanda Kramer joined the group. Tommy Boy Records bought the group’s contract from Twin-Tone and had them record their first album, changing their name to Information Society.
The group’s self-titled second album came out in 1988. The album contained the hit single What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy). The video clearly owes a debt to the video for Running. The single licensed Leonard Nimoy speaking the line, “Pure energy,” and a sound clip of DeForest Kelly saying, “It’s worked so far, but we’re not out yet.” Leonard’s son Adam was a fan of the group and helped them get permission to use the Star Trek samples.
The single earned the group a gold record. It peaked at #3 on the Hot 100, topped the US Dance Songs chart, and even reached the top ten on the Alternative Songs chart. It continues to be one of the most popular songs from the eighties.
The group released Walking Away as the second single from the album. Once again, the group used sound samples from Star Trek. This time they used William Shatner saying, “It is useless to resist us,” and James Doohan saying, “Let’s Go See!” While the song reached #9 on the Hot 100, that wasn’t high enough to be in the top hundred songs of 1989. The single peaked at #5 on the dance chart. Oldies stations tend to overlook the single, giving preference to their first big hit.
The group released two more singles from that album, but they stopped at #76 and #83 on the Hot 100.
Their next album included the single Think, which again peaked at #5 on the dance chart but only reached #28 on the Hot 100.
Remixes of Running and What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) again reached the dance chart top five in 2001, but the group never charted on the Hot 100 again.
Kurt, Paul, and James continue to lead an Information Society touring group and released a new studio album in 2016 and new singles as recently as 2019.
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