Hocus Pocus (song)

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"Hocus Pocus"
Single by Focus
from the album Focus II
Released 1971 (Europe)
February 1973 (US, Canada)
Format 45 single
Recorded 1971
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock
Length 6:42 (album version)
3:18 (single edit)
3:25 (re-recording: "Hocus Pocus 2″"Hocus Pocus II")
Label Imperial Records (NL)
Polydor (DE, UK)
Blue Horizon (UK)
Sire Records (US, CA)
Writer(s) Thijs van Leer, Jan Akkerman
Producer(s) Mike Vernon
Music sample

"Hocus Pocus" is a 1971 song from Focus II (aka Moving Waves), the second album by Dutch rock group Focus. It was written by guitarist Jan Akkerman and flautist-keyboardist Thijs van Leer.

An edited version was released as a single (with "Janis" as the B-side) on the Imperial Records, Polydor and Blue Horizon labels in Europe in 1971,[1][2][3][4] but it didn't chart in the UK until 1973.[5] A faster re-recording, "Hocus Pocus 2", was released as a single (with "House of the King" as the B-side) in Europe in 1972.[6] "Hocus Pocus" c/w "Hocus Pocus II" [sic] was released as a single on the Sire Records label in the United States and Canada in 1973.[7][8]

It reached No. 20 in the UK, No. 18 in Canada, and No. 9 in the US during the spring and summer of 1973. It re-entered the UK charts at No. 57 on 6 June 2010 after being featured heavily on The Chris Moyles Show and in a Nike TV advert shown during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The song has been covered by the Vandals, and was recorded on their debut LP, When in Rome Do as The Vandals in 1984.


"Hocus Pocus" takes the form of a rondo, consisting of alternation between a powerful rock chord riff and varied solo "verses" (in the original all performed by Thijs van Leer) which include yodeling, organ playing, accordion, scat singing, flute riffs, and whistling. The single version is significantly edited from the album version.

"Hocus Pocus 2" is a faster version, which was released as a single in its own right in Europe and was the B-side to the North American release of "Hocus Pocus". When performing live, Focus would play the "Hocus Pocus" even faster.[9]

Use in media[edit]

TNT used the song as an introduction to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons as well as Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics during the 1997 NBA Playoffs. The song was recent revised on the HBO series Vinyl. The record company American Century Records claim to have released it in the series.

The song has also been used in the British motoring show Top Gear during one of The Stig's power laps, on series 6 episode 1, testing a CLS55 AMG; as the exit music on the second series of the BBC TV sitcom Saxondale; in the movie The Stoned Age; in a 2008 McDonald's commercial featuring the web site Line Rider; in a 2010 Nike football World Cup advertisement titled "Write the Future"; in the third season episode of My Name is Earl entitled "Early Release", when Earl is locked in solitary confinement; and in the 2008 Supernatural episode "Ghostfacers". The song was recently[when?] sampled for J. Cole's single "Blow Up".

"Hocus Pocus 2" was included in GuitarFreaks & DrumMania V5 Rock to Infinity and was also used in the 2014 remake of Robocop during a live-fire test with Robocop against a large number of robot drones and the character Mattox.


  1. ^ 45cat.com; NL Imperial Records single release
  2. ^ 45cat.com; DE Polydor single release
  3. ^ Discogs; UK Polydor single release
  4. ^ Discogs; UK Blue Horizon single release
  5. ^ Official Charts (UK); UK single release
  6. ^ Discogs; "Hocus Pocus 2"; DE single release
  7. ^ 45cat.com; US single release
  8. ^ Discogs; CA single release
  9. ^ Knight, Gladys (host) (5 October 1973). The Midnight Special. Season 2. Episode 4. 

External links[edit]