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Focus Biography

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Focus In-depth Biography

Best remembered for their bizarre chart smash "Hocus Pocus,"} Dutch progressive rock band Focus} was formed in Amsterdam in 1969 by vocalist/keyboardist/flutist Thijs van Leer}, bassist Martin Dresden}, and drummer Hans Cleuver}. With the subsequent addition of guitarist Jan Akkerman}, the group issued its debut LP, In and Out of Focus}, in 1970, earning a European cult following thanks to the single "House of the King."} Dresden} and Cleuver} were replaced by bassist Cyril Havermanns} and drummer Pierre Van der Linden} for the English-language follow-up, Moving Waves}; the record generated the hit "Hocus Pocus,"} a hallucinatory epic distinguished by Akkerman}'s guitar pyrotechnics and van Leer}'s demented yodeling. Easily one of the flat-out strangest songs ever to crack the American pop charts, the single peaked at number nine in the spring of 1973, by which time Focus} had already exchanged Havermanns} for bassist Bert Ruiter} and issued their third album, Focus III}, which yielded the minor hit "Sylvia."} In the wake of 1974's Hamburger Concert}, the band streamlined the classical aspirations of earlier efforts to pursue a more pop-oriented approach on records like Ship of Memories} and Mother Focus}; though roster changes regularly plagued Focus} throughout the period, none was more pivotal than the 1976 exit of Akkerman}, who was replaced by guitarist Philip Catherine} for 1978's Focus con Proby}, cut with British pop singer P.J. Proby}. Focus} then disbanded, with the original lineup reuniting in 1990 for a Dutch television special. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

Focus Biography / Focus Information

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