Focus (band)

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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" by guitarist Gary Hoey on his 1993 album "Animal Instinct", and as the theme for the Nike 2010 World Cup commercial, Write The Future, directed by the Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu.



The 1970s

At the release of their first album Focus Plays Focus (aka 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 Focus II (aka 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 - along with Van Leer's 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.

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