Hocus Pocus by Focus (1973) rock yodeling to a grinding beat

On Jan. 20, 1973, the second album by the Dutch band Focus, Moving Waves, entered the Billboard Top LP’s & Tape chart at #179. It would become a Top 10 album, peaking at #8.

The album had been released in October of 1971, but it took a while for this band to be discovered outside of Europe. At a time when heavy church organ chords and bass riffs, combined with bleak philosophical lyrics, ruled the world of progressive rock, Focus’ quirky six-minute rocker, “Hocus Pocus,” propelled the group and its LP into pop consciousness.

“Hocus Pocus” features a relentless, grinding guitar hook (Jan Akkerman) set to a driving drum beat (Pierre van der Linden) and prog-rock keyboards with primal, operatic yodeling, whistling and a hyperkinetic flute solo (Thijs van Leer). How could this combination be anything less than a hit?

… and so, “Hocus Pocus” by Focus replaced the Shocking Blue’s “Venus” as America’s favorite Dutch rock song. A single was released in the US in early ’73 (the first part of the song was on the A-Side, its conclusion on the B-Side) that went to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I hadn’t heard “Hocus Pocus” in a while. It’s still silly. It’s still infectious.


About poppaculture

I am a seasoned consumer of modern (and not so modern) culture.
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2 Responses to Hocus Pocus by Focus (1973) rock yodeling to a grinding beat

  1. Tom says:

    You made me laugh.

    Now eat this. (It will be for the last time.)

    • poppaculture says:

      Thank you, Mr. Geezer, you do the same for me.
      And I eat willingly!
      Great clip from one of my favorite group of musicians: Christopher Guest and the National Lampoon folk (including Paul Shaffer). They take a swing at everybody! I like whoever added the visuals to the audio clip to give clues to the homage.

      Guest wrote some of the best parodies of popular music with the National Lampoon Radio Hour. I think of the Neil Young parody “Southern California Always Brings Me Down” and the Cat Stevens parody with guttural, groaning crescendos in the vocals. Always musically smart with insider references to songs and lyrics (not just “making them funny” by adding words to the melody).

      Please, sir, I want some more.

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