Focus is a Dutch progresive rock band formed in 1969. The band is most famous for its song called "Hocus Pocus". The band consists of four members: Thijs van Leer, Niels van der Steenhoven, Bobby Jacobs, Pierre van der Linden and Jan Akkerman.
1970: the release of their first album, In and OUt of Focus. In
this year there were some switches in the bandmembers.
1971: Focus releases Moving Waves, wich got them internation fame. It was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic see. Akkerman's neat chords and van leer's falsetto singin made their album popular
1972 :A new album was released, Focus III. It was a double album Critics said the albumw was not as good as the earlier Moving WAves and they said it was to short for a double CD. However, the song "Sylvia" became a big hit
1973: A live album was released: At the Rainbow
1974: A new drummer was introduced: Colin Allen. They also recorded a new album called "Hamburger Concerto".
1975: again a new drummer and a new album. David Kemper was the drummer that helped recording "Mother Focus". The quality was still high, but due changes in the audience taste it didn't sell that good.
1976: Jan Akkerman, guitarist, left the band to start a career with other people. A album was release, Ship of Memories, containing half finished tracks and pratic sesions.
1978: American singer P. J. Proby and guitarist Eef Albers joined what was left of Focus. They recorded an album called Focus con Proby. The album recieved a low amount of intrest from the hardcore fans. Focus calls it a day and unforms.
Bandmembers still did some reunions and made new tracks, but the original bad Focus was over. In 2001, van Leer did a re-form of focus, and gave it some new life. In 2006 they even released a new album Focus9 / New Skin.
Focus still remains one of the most succesful rock bands from the Netherlands. They succesfuly fused jazz, rock, blues and pop into an recognisable sound. Their instrumental parts are hard to play and high quality music. It's van Leer's alternative singing style that makes it very intresting to listen to. Their gratest hit, Hocus Pocus, also contains this alternative style of singing.
"Hocus Pocus" is an instrumental song from 1971 and was first released on their album "Moving Waves". It was written by Jan Akkerman and Thij van Leer. The song contains no lyrics and consists of powerfull rock riffing and solos. The verses in this song are being yodeled and whistled. The song was recorded extra fast for the radio and it became a hit. When they played it live they even did it a bit faster. In 1999, power metal band Helloween did a cover of the song and included it in their album. Iron Maiden also coved Hocus Pocus in 2006 for their single Different World. Rock guitarist Gary Hoey released different variations of this song. The outro of this song is used on the second series of the BBC TV sitcom Saxondale A video of their performance can be watched Here.
Thijs van Leer - Hammond-organ, flute and vocals
Niels van der Steenhoven - guitar
Bobby Jacobs - bass guitar
Pierre van der Linden - drums
Jan Akkerman (guitar)
Jan Dumée (guitar)
Martin Dresden (bass guitar)
Cyril Havermans (bass guitar)
Bert Ruiter (bass guitar)
Hans Cleuver (drums)
Colin Allen (drums)
Bert Smaak (drums)
In and Out of Focus (January 1970)
Moving Waves (October 1971)
Focus III (November 1972)
At the Rainbow (October 1973)
Hamburger Concerto (May 1974)
Mother Focus (October 1975)
Ship of Memories (September 1977)
Focus con Proby (January 1978)
Focus (August 1985)
Hocus Pocus (1994)
Focus 8 (January 2002)
Live at the BBC 1976 (May 2004)
Focus 9 / New Skin (September 2006)
"Hocus Pocus" #20 UK, #9 US. (B-side: Janis)
"Sylvia" #4 UK, #89 US. (B-side: Love Remembered
House Of The King (B-side: Black Beauty)
House of the King (B-side: O Avondrood - a vocal version of "Red sky at night")
Tommy (B-side: Focus II)
Harem Scarem (B-side: Early Birth. This is a shortened alternate version of the track "Birth" on the album "Hamburger Concerto".)
Mother Focus (B-side: I Need A Bathroom)
P's March (B-side: Focus II)
Hocus Pocus (B-side: Hocus Pocus, U.S. Version. This version is also found on CD release of the "Ship Of Memories" album.)
Russian Roulette (B-side: Ole' Judy)