Happy 30th: Information Society, INFORMATION SOCIETY
30 years ago today, Information Society released their self-titled major-label debut and left an entire generation startled when it turned out that they weren’t a synthpop group from the UK but, in fact, a synthpop group from Minneapolis.
When INFORMATION SOCIETY arrived in stores through the combined efforts of Tommy Boy, Reprise, and Warner Bros. Records, it was not the group’s first-ever release. The trio of Kurt Harland, Paul Robb, and James Cassidy first came together in 1982, when the guys were attending Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The following year found them offering up their first two releases – THE INSOC EP and CREATURES OF INFLUENCE – and in 1985 they delivered a new single, “Running,” which would wind up on the self-titled album that brings us here today.
Momentary sidebar: even though their Minneapolis roots explains how it came to pass, it’s still kind of crazy to think that Information Society released “Running” on Twin-Tone Records, the same label that brought you The Replacements.
After leaving Minnesota and heading to New York, Information Society recorded their self-titled Tommy Boy Records debut at Platinum Island Studios, and the resulting LP immediately captured the ears of radio programmers and listeners. The first single from the album, “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy),” soon became a #3 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, with the follow-up single, “Walking Away,” becoming the band’s second top-10 hit, climbing to #9.
The album also produced two additional minor hits with “Repetition” (#76) and a cover of ABBA’s “Lay All Your Love On Me” (#83), and while they never got around to making a video for the latter, they did make one for the former, which they’ve uploaded to their official YouTube channel:
INFORMATION SOCIETY climbed to #25 on the Billboard 200 and ultimately went gold, which meant that the band had an instant audience when they returned two years later with their next album, HACK. Alas, it wasn’t quite as successful as its predecessor, but Information Society remained active as a trio through 1992, after which Harland flew the InSoc flag solo for several years. Ironically, Robb and Cassidy returned as Information Society in 2006 without Harland – well, mostly, anyway – but in 2014 the original trio released a new album (_hello world), released another one in 2016 (ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE), and according to their official website, they’re still together and plan to play some shows later this year, so stay tuned!
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