Classic Rock Wiki

"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. It reached No. 20 in the UK, No. 18 in Canada, and No. 9 in the US during the spring of 1973, re-entering 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. It was also released as a single with "Janis" as a B-side for the UK and "Hocus Pocus II" for the United States.


It 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. Focus recorded a special, faster radio version, which became a hit. When performing live, the group would play the tune even faster.

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. Also the final bars of the tune are used as the exit music on the second series of the BBC TV sitcom Saxondale.

The tune is played on the British motoring show Top Gear during one of The Stig power laps, on series 6 episode 1, testing a CLS55 AMG, and featured in the movie The Stoned Age, and was used in a 2008 McDonald's commercial featuring the web site Line Rider. In 2010, Nike released a football World Cup advertisement titled "Write the Future", which uses an excerpt from the song.

It plays in the third season episode of My Name is Earl entitled "Early Release", when Earl is locked in solitary confinement, with the opening of the tune also appearing in the 2008 Supernatural episode "Ghostfacers".

The song was recently sampled for J. Cole's single "Blow Up", and the U.S version was included in GuitarFreaks & DrumMania V5 Rock to Infinity, being the piece also used in the 2014 remake of Robocop during a live-fire test with Robocop against a large number of robot drones and Mattox.