Information Society

Information Society (also known as InSoc) is an American band from Minneapolis–Saint Paul, initially active from 1982 to 1997, primarily consisting of Kurt Harland Larson, Paul Robb, and James Cassidy; the latter two reconvened the band in 2006, initially with Christopher Anton as lead vocalist, then with Harland rejoining them as lead vocalist by 2008.

The group’s breakout single was 1988’s “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)”, a synth-pop and freestyle song, which spent 39 weeks on the dance chart, going straight to number one and would also peak at number three on the Hot 100 pop chart. The track included a vocal sample of Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) from Star Trek, saying “pure energy”.

Information Society’s star on the outside mural of Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue

“What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)” was released as a single in 1988. The “Pure Energy” subtitle derives from a sample of Leonard Nimoy’s voice from the Star Trek episode “Errand of Mercy”. There is also a sample of DeForest Kelley’s voice from the episode “I, Mudd”. John Leland of Spin magazine called it a “pretty potent dance record”.

In 2009, VH1 ran a countdown of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the ’80s. Information Society’s “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)” placed at number 74 on the countdown despite the fact that the group had two other top 40 hits: “Walking Away” (number 9) and “Think” (number 28).

The song was a big hit in the US, spending 25 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number three in October 1988.[6]. The single was certified gold by the RIAA on January 18, 1989, selling 500,000 copies.

The song was featured in Loverboy and American Psycho. A remixed version was included in American Psycho’s soundtrack.

In 1989, Pittsburgh radio station WYDD-FM executed an early viral marketing plan by playing this song non-stop in a loop for 25½ hours — focusing on a repeat of the “Pure Energy” sample from Leonard Nimoy as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. The marketing stunt caused listeners to call emergency services, concerned that some calamity had befallen the DJs and other station employees. Bob Hank, general manager at the time, told reporters he was only trying to draw attention to the station’s switch in format and new call letters WNRJ . “We were just trying to draw a little bit of attention,” Hank said. “We never dreamed it would go this far”. The song also samples Star Trek in the intro, with the character Dr. McCoy saying “it’s worked so far, but we’re not out yet.”


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