A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the domain name for this place is one quite a few other parties would like to get their hands on, as it reflects the name of their product or business. I have therefore had to remove any mention of it in the blog in case I get a take down notice.
Anyway, back in 2017 I had planned to start a new series where I journeyed back in time in my ‘magical jukebox’ (you see where I’m going with this?) but only got as far as one spin the random number generator (I had it all thought out). It took me back to this date:
Year – 1973
Month – 2, i.e. February
Date – 14 (St Valentine’s Day!)
The act at the top of the UK Singles Chart on that date was Sweet, with their only chart-topper Blockbuster. I wrote about that song recently (link here) so time to mention another band who appeared in that very first post in the ‘series that never was’. Although I can’t say I was a big fan back then, in the fullness of time I have come to appreciate the falderals involved in the making of a Focus record (a bit of yodelling anyone?) and February 1973 was their time in the sun as far as chart success went. Their instrumental Sylvia was a climber at No.5 and Hocus Pocus was also climbing up the chart at No. 22.
I may well have forgotten all about these Dutch prog rockers had it not been the album I got for Christmas that year was ‘Arcade’s 20 Fantastic Hits by the Original Artists’, the emphasis on the word original, as up until then most of these compilations were very much by the unoriginal artists – I still have the album and Hocus Pocus is Track 7 on Side 2.
I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver but I’d thoroughly recommend it. I’m not usually a fan of films that feature multiple car chases, but this one was a very different animal, and the best car chase of all was played out to the sounds of Focus with what has turned out to be their most memorable recording (was it because the words rhymed so well I wonder?). Watching this excellent clip again, the lead character Baby, could definitely give Lewis Hamilton a run for his money.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my second journey back to February 1973. All you need is a random number generator it seems and we’re good to go, although the mode of transport was a tad uncomfortable. If there is a next time, I might have to trade in H.G. Wells’ time machine for Doc Brown’s DeLorean. Might make for a smoother ride.
Until next time….
6 thoughts on “Focus and a Whole Load Of ‘Hocus Pocus’”
I remember seeing Focus on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1972 and being blown away by “Hocus Pocus” – incredible tune from a bunch of great musicians.
LikeLiked by 1 person
They certainly could play. Lots and lots of yodelling and twiddly bits!
I am sure I’ve mentioned this before somewhere but Mr SDS went to see Focus one cold January night in 1973 – however, when he and his friends got to the venue some miles away from home, they couldn’t get tickets! (In the days when you could only buy them on the door…) So, they huddled up outside in the freezing cold to listen to the entire gig (and apparently took it in turns to hoist each other up for brief views through a high window). He says it was worth it, though – even though they also missed the last scheduled train home and had to wait for the milk train!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I think you have mentioned it before when I wrote about Focus before but a great story. A cold night in January does not sound the best time to be huddled outside a venue, but just how keen they were to hear the band. Bet they weren’t even that well clad either as we just weren’t back then – It was the same clothes all year round, except you maybe took off your jacket in summer if it was a hot day!
I absolutely love ‘Sylvia’ near the end there’s a lull where it feels like its going to wind down…then it bursts back in more glorious than before…marvellous.
Never really cared for all the yodelling malarkey…quite possible that it sounded ok whilst listening in an Amsterdam coffee shop..but nae in my bedroom.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’ve just played Sylvia again and think I found the part you mean, at around 2:45. Yes, it was more of a melodic offering than we were used to from prog rockers so why it perhaps did so well in the charts, appealing to a more mainstream audience.
Maybe the yodelling is best left in Amsterdam, as you say.