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Hocus Pocus



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

But for some silly noises which can't really be called vocals, this song is an instrumental. In an interview with the British newspaper New Musical Express in May 1973, lead guitarist Jan Akkerman said "Hocus Pocus" was "just a send-up of those rock groups."

Joke or not, it was a big hit. The album version of this Van Leer/Akkerman composition runs to 6 minutes 42 seconds. The radio edit entered the Billboard Chart at #98 week ending March 3, 1973 and peaked at #9 week ending June 2. In the UK it made the charts the same time as the classic Focus instrumental "Sylvia"; not many groups can boast that. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England)
This instrumental hit is known for its use of yodeling. The song stood out on the radio as there was nothing like it on the airwaves. The song also contains flute, accordion and various vocal sounds.
The song was originally recorded in 1971, but didn't chart as a hit until the faster radio version was recorded and released in 1973.
Focus is a Dutch Progressive Rock band. This is their only hit. (thanks, Daniel - Sydney, Australia, for above 3)
Guitarist Gary Hoey recorded a popular version on his 1993 Animal Instinct album.
The song features prominently in the high profile Nike TV commercial, Write the Future, which was put together for the 2010 World Cup.
More Focus songs
More instrumental songs
More songs that were altered for radio
More songs used in commercials
More songs with yodelling

Comments (10):

My favorite song from my favorite year, 1973. Its hard to believe it was 40 years ago now (May 2013) this song was climbing the charts. I've read that in the US, they only released instrumentals as neither Van Leer or Akkerman could speak English.
- Mark, Rogers, , AR
There were TWO single versions. Here in the USA-I don't know about both but an immensely edited-down cut that is the same speed was issued and a February 1973 chart entry hit. Got high as #9. There WAS, however, ANOTHER, faster release too.
July 9.2010.
- Steve, Whittier, CA
I love this song!
- Dawn, sloansville, NY
I believe that it was a minor hit for them. There is a long running feud between Van Leer and Akkerman. Akkerman regards "Hocus Pocus" as his song and doesn't credit Van Leer.
- Glenn, Auckland, New Zealand
The instrumental "House of Kings" was the theme music to science programme "Don't Ask Me" in the late 70's
- Glenn, Auckland, New Zealand
I freaking love this song it rocks so hard and very under played!!!
- Jon, Enumclaw , WA
This is the most stupid song I've ever heard.
- Aline, Brasilia, Brazil
The Canadian band "The Guess Who" known for "American Woman " and other lesser known songs played this song as part of their live sets in the late 1990's. Nice job covering this, very unexpected !!
- mike, midletown, CT
Not their only hit: Sylvia was also a hit the following year from the same album. Focus went on to make some pretty original albums including "Hamburger Concerto" but one by one the members left: Cyril Havvermans, Pierre van Der Liden, then the final blow was when Jan Akkerman left. It was his amazing guitar playing along with Thys Van Leer's incredible classical range gave Focus that distinct sound.
this was the bands first uk hit, which was followed by the guitar driven sylvia which hit uk#4 also in 1973
- jeff, liverpool, England
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