Articles Comments

» 1970s, Rock » Hocus Pocus – Focus

Hocus Pocus – Focus

Three words: Heavy metal yodeling.

You can’t get more rock ‘n’ roll that that.

I defy you to come up with anything as cool. You could invent the hula hoop. You could invent the iPhone. You could invent disco, hip hop, Norwegian death metal or the Jonas Brothers. And you will still never, ever, ever come close to being as cool as Thijs van Leer, lead singer, keyboard player, flautist and songwriter for Dutch one-hit wonder band Focus.

Read the “Hocus Pocus” lyrics

Who else but the elf-like Thisjs (pronounced Thisjs) could invent heavy metal yodeling? No one. Not Bob Dylan. Not Jimi Hendrix. Not Kurt Cobain. Not Les Claypool or John Lennon or Madonna or Gwen Stefani or Biggie Smalls. No one.

focus-hocus-pocus-singer

No amount of drugs, or fresh air, or positive daily affirmation sessions with Stuart Smalley or Richard Simmons could convince you that heavy metal yodeling was not only a good idea, but that it would sell records. Tons of them. In fact, “Hocus Pocusicon” was so huge, it reached #9 on the Billboard charts in 1973 and transformed Focus into a one-hit wonder.

Hocus Pocus a “Dutch National Treasure”

Heavy metal yodeling by Focus is the most important thing you will see or hear this week. Or ever. United States presidents have long considered making next Tuesday “Heavy Metal Yodeling Day” to honor Thisjs (pronounced Thisjs).

This song is so great, it hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973. It is without question #1 on our list of “Best Dutch One-Hit Wonder Songs.”

It’s that important. My good Dutch friend Mike van Thiel tells me “Focus” is considered a “Dutch national treasure that should be guarded at all costs and only shared with select people who possess the right frame of mind and reverence for a song of such great beauty.”

Friends, bow your head and prepare your ears for a sacrament of song. And click to hear more instrumental one-hit wonders

Watch the insanity that is “Hocus Pocus”

Buy “Hocus Pocus” from iTunes

  • Hocus Pocus

Written by

I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

Filed under: 1970s, Rock · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to "Hocus Pocus – Focus"

  1. Anthony Darling says:

    Wow…that was fun. Musically, I really enjoyed it…not sure if I could watch that lead singer for very long though, looks like he has Tourette’s.

  2. Strom says:

    I’d heard it before, but forgot all about it.

    Call me strange, but that was damn cool. They’re actually quite talented…

  3. Michael Waterman says:

    I first heard the song when I was a little kid and it blew my mind. In fact, a neighbor kid played “Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winter Group first. Then he followed it up with “Hocus Pocus.” All the kids in the neighborhood voted “Hocus Pocus” the “best rock song ever.” It may still be today. It’s definitely one of the strangest.

  4. Lando Calrissian says:

    Lets talk seriously- is he an alien? It may be the first documented case of a side-burned alien forming a rock band and broadcasting his strange language.
    I love his warm-up before he starts singing!

  5. T Dog says:

    Well hi every one, im just saying that i have the song Starstrukk by 3oh! 3 stuck in my head and So Cold by Breaking Benjamin and New Divide by Linkin Park. I can’t get them out of my head and its annoying.

  6. jOCa says:

    Damn straight their talented; Jan Akkerman has to be the greatest guitarist of all time, if only on the basis of the above performance. He would’ve blown Hendrix to shit. They’re the most together band that I’ve ever listened to (and I’ve heard Tool), & I hope to see them next month in the UK – ok, maybe not the original powerhouse line-up, but Van der Linden & Van Leer? Gonna be a barnstormer.
    This page is excellent, I particularly enjoyed the phonetical transcription of the ‘lyrics’. I think you could ever refer to them as such if you’d taken LSD…

  7. Michael Waterman says:

    jOCa,

    Classic stuff indeed. I didn’t realize Focus was still touring. It should indeed by quite a barnstormer.

  8. Chun li says:

    I follow your web page for quite a extended time and have to have tell that your content articles always prove to be of a high value and high quality for readers.

  9. hm insulators says:

    The “Moving Waves” album (this website needs a way to add italics when needed) was one of the first albums I ever owned back in the 1970s. I remember being disappointed at first that the rest of the album didn’t rock out like “Hocus Pocus”, but then the mellower, jazzy portions grew on me and I just about wore the grooves off the record.

    Recently, I revisited “Moving Waves” after many years of not having played it. Although time hasn’t been really kind to the album (some of it, particularly parts of the long suite on side 2 are too “proggy” for my taste), it still has its moments and worth the occasional spin on my turntable, especially since I found a better copy at a used record swap meet for one dollar a few months back.

    And “Hocus Pocus” was one of the first songs I used to play drums to on my coffee-can drum set way back when.

  10. Michael Waterman says:

    HM Insulators,

    Funny you mention Hocus Pocus. I watched a recent version of the song last week on YouTube because I was talking about “heavy metal yodeling” to someone and said you have to check out Focus for the best example ever. So I found this clip. Not sure when it was recorded but I believe in the last few years. Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW6v-mqo17Q&feature=related
    Michael

  11. hm insulators says:

    Interesting video; I guess I didn’t realize Focus were still going after nearly forty years–“Hocus Pocus” sure had legs, that’s for sure!

    I always liked the wild guitar runs, and of course being a one-time drummer, the drum breaks were always fun to listen to and play, and again, it brought back memories of banging on the coffee cans during the whole “Moving Waves” album. I was noticing in the newest video the drummer is playing left-handed. I’m a lefty myself, but when my parents let me have a real drum set after a couple of years of listening to various pops, plups, blops, thumps, pings, dings and blaps, I always played right-handed, for some reason. I guess I didn’t realize at the time that one could set up the drum kit left handed, so I set up the drums just like in the pictures of drummers on lots of album covers or inner sleeves. To me, it felt natural to play right-handed. (The very rare times I’ve tried to play a guitar, it felt natural to me to hold it right-handed.)

  12. […] music is a strange, strange thing. And it was really strange in the 1970s. See the post on “Hocus Pocus” for instance. That song reached #9 on the Billboard charts in 1973 and over the next few years completely […]

Leave a Reply