Friday Night Music Byte

Focus circa 1973

1970’s “one hit wonders” week continues. Focus is a Dutch rock band. It was founded by classically trained organist/flautist Thijs van Leer in 1969, and is most famous for the songs “Hocus Pocus” and “Sylvia”. The band have found renewed fame due to the use of Hocus Pocus as the theme for the Nike 2010 World Cup commercial, Write the Future.

At the release of their first album In and Out of Focus (1970), Focus comprised keyboardist and flautist Thijs van Leer, guitarist Jan Akkerman, bassist Martin Dresden, and drummer Hans Cleuver. The album was little noticed outside the Netherlands, where a small but avid fan base developed. Akkerman left the group to form another band with bassist Cyril Havermans and Pierre van der Linden, a drummer he had previously performed with in Johnny and the Cellar Rockers, The Hunters, and Brainbox. When Cleuver and Dresden left Focus shortly after, Van Leer joined Akkerman, Van der Linden, and Havermans as the new lineup of Focus.

In 1971, the group released Moving Waves, which brought the band international acclaim and a hit on both sides of the Atlantic with the radio edit of the rock rondo “Hocus Pocus”. This rock classic consists of Akkerman’s guitar chord sequence used as a recurring theme, with quirky and energetic interludes that include alto flute riffs, accordion, guitar, and drum solos, whistling, nonsensical vocals, falsetto singing, and yodeling. This album established Thijs van Leer and Akkerman as composers who could appeal to progressive-rock album listeners (a large audience in the early 1970s) and radio single buyers.

Please enjoy Focus playing their hit “Hocus Pocus” on this 1975 television appearance.

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Posted on June 18, 2010, in Songs, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Long time since I’ve heard this. Much longer than last night’s one-hit wonder. Learned something new, too. Thanks.

  2. Nike is running a World Cup Ad with this song! Speaking of yodeling, the Swiss are doing quite well so far in the group stage. We’re still “alive”, even after being robbed of a stunning come-from-behind victory. Yes, foreign ref. Thank, you neocons!

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