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Pays : Netherlands
Genre : Rock Progressif Symphonique
Dates : 1969
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Focus was a Dutch progressive rock band of the 1970s. It was founded by classically trained organist/flautist Thijs van Leer in 1969. It leaned heavily on his talents, and on those of another of the Netherlands' contemporary music heavyweights, the guitarist Jan Akkerman, who joined the band in 1970. In 1971 the group released their second album, Moving Waves, which received international acclaim.
The band's biggest international hits were the guitar-based instrumental 'Sylvia', and the band's signature piece, the bizarre rondo 'Hocus Pocus'. (The title may have been a deliberate joke on DJs: "That was 'Hocus Pocus' by Focus"). It consisted of a striking rock-guitar chord sequence used as the recurring theme, and surprisingly varied episodes in between that included accordion playing, alto flute riffs, guitar improvisation, drum solos, whistling, nonsense vocals, falsetto singing, and yodeling.
The musical egos of van Leer and Akkerman proved incompatible. In 1976 Akkerman left the band, which finally dissolved in 1978. However, in 1985 van Leer and Akkerman reunited for an unsuccessful Focus album.
In 2001 van Leer re-formed Focus with musicians who had originally formed a Focus tribute band: Jan Dumée (guitar), Bobby Jacobs (bass) and Bert Smaak (drums). They recorded a new album called Focus 8.
In October 2004 Pierre van der Linden took over on drums. He had been the drummer during the band's most successful period during the early 1970s.
Focus were in many people's minds the best band to come out of Holland in the 1970s. (Golden Earring's single Radar Love enjoyed more success, but Focus's musical achievements were more significant.) Their extended, almost exclusively instrumental, compositions and improvisations contained many clear references to the classical music canon. One notable example is the quoting of Monteverdi's landmark early opera Orfeo in their extended piece 'Eruption' on the album Moving Waves. Anothe ...
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