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.
Suggestion credit: 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.
This song came together very quickly when the band was at their recording studio. Drummer Pierre van der Linden started playing some two-bar fills, and guitarist Jan Akkerman came in with a tune. Focus frontman Thijs van Leer decided this would be a good time to yodel, something he had never done before. "Everyone considered it a very funny joke," he said. "But we found ourselves drawn back to the song."
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.
Suggestion credit: Daniel - Sydney, Australia, for above 2
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.
Mark from Rogers, , ArMy 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.
Steve from Whittier, CaThere 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.
Dawn from Sloansville, NyI love this song!
Glenn from Auckland, New ZealandI 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 from Auckland, New ZealandThe instrumental "House of Kings" was the theme music to science programme "Don't Ask Me" in the late 70's
Jon from Enumclaw , WaI freaking love this song it rocks so hard and very under played!!!
Aline from Brasilia, BrazilThis is the most stupid song I've ever heard.
Mike from Midletown, CtThe 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 !!
Andrew from London, EnglandNot 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.
Jeff from Liverpool, Englandthis was the bands first uk hit, which was followed by the guitar driven sylvia which hit uk#4 also in 1973