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Hocus Pocus: the life & journey of rock's dutch masters [Paperback]

Mr Peet Johnson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 28.17
Price: 11.23 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Mar 2013
The first fully comprehensive chronological and biographical record of the innovative and hugely influential group, Focus - from its infancy in 1969 right through to the present day. Compiled from more than 180 exclusive interviews with past and present band members and associates. This 360 page (revised, re-edited) book documents the dramatic roller-coaster ride from early struggles, meteoric global success, hits, misses, break-ups, tragedies, bitter law suits and eventual resurrection. Fully indexed, it also includes 24 pages of (many never before published) photographs.

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Hocus Pocus: the life & journey of rock's dutch masters + Jan Akkerman -A Touch Of Class [DVD & CD)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: THORPEBOWKER (6 Mar 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0646577549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0646577548
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last..... a book on Focus 25 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase
Having been a Focus fan since that first jaw dropping appearance on the OGWT I have been waiting for a book about this wonderful band ever since. At long last, here it is.

My copy only arrived yesterday but I devoured it in less than 24 hours and, despite my expectations having been lowered by having read a rather uncharitable (and suspiciously vitriolic) Amazon reader review (axe to grind?), I was surprised and pleased to find that it really is an excellent read. Yes, the language can be a bit flowery in places, but so is their music.

The book provides a firsthand account of the life and death and re-births of this Dutch band with a text based largely on interviews with those involved. Indeed, only two major players seem not to have contributed, Bert Ruiter and Martin Dresden. According to the acknowledgements many dozens of others have given of their time, including Van Leer, Akkerman, Van der Linden, Kemper, Catherine, Allen, Albers, Havermanns, producer Mike Vernon and, rather bizarrely, Victor Spinetti. I shall let you read the book to find out how a Welsh actor was involved. No spoilers here.

For me, the book answered the questions that have troubled me for many years about break ups, make ups and inspirations. It gave me a valuable insight into people who have become musical heroes to me over the years and into the thought behind the music they produced. I particularly enjoyed the sections about Hans Cleuver and Martin Dresden about whom I did not know a great deal. I will know listen to `In and out of Focus' in a new light.

It is a must read for died in the wool Focus fans and a great bookshelf addition for those interested in the history and mythology of rock music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great important book about Focus - finally ! 3 April 2013
Verified Purchase
This is an excellent written book on Focus.

As a longtime Focus fan its very good that someone eventually has done the job on collecting so much stuff on this important band and served it in one major book, since there has only been writings here and there on the band before.

So it's very comfortable having a main writing on their career in one book.

While reading, it gave me the wish to check out most of the Focus stuff from beginning to this day - even though I listen a lot to it now and then.

Especially all the "tricky" songs and all the comparisons with earlier renditions of songs.

The writer has with very great accuracy captured many details and specialities that both gives new information to even hardcore Focus fans - like myself .

I really like the fact that the writer has been digging very deep in finding song similarities and adaptions within the whole Focus-songbook. Snippets from an Akkerman tune used in Focus, the re-use of forgotten themes dusted off the shelves and used in future releases. That's actually what I especially like about the book - the "geek" factor.

I really enjoyed reading a great research on this important band.

The book is absolutely interesting and recommendable for every Focus fan - if totally addicted or only a "surface"-fan.

Check it out - it's really worth it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DEFINITELY A BOOK TO HAVE FOR ALL FOCUS FANS! 29 Mar 2013
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A very nicely produced limited edition book on the story of rock band FOCUS, with inputs from most band members. Certainly a book to have. It will be some time before I sit down and begin to read it (probably on a flight, or on holidays), with over 340 pages of intrigue, but definitely looking forward to it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! 8 May 2013
By tmh
This has obviously been a labour of love for the author. He seems to present the various bust ups, splits and rapprochements that seem to go hand in hand with a band of such talented individuals, with a fair bit of even handedness. I think he has done a lot of homework and interviewed a lot of the people concerned. He also obviously loves their music, and gives pretty honest critiques of each of their albums, including their nadir that was 'con Proby'.
The writing does have the odd malapropism but I will certainly forgive him this (is english his first language?) as the story is a fascinating one and told with enthusiasm. Just about the right level of detail there, an excellent read, I couldn't put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hocus Pocus - It's Focus! 7 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase
The fisrst band I ever saw on stage (1974) was Focus, I've seen them a few times since then and have most of their albums. This book is an interesting guide to the band as well as being a comprehensive discography. Really enjoyed it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy hommage 2 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book. That is the first thing to say. Yes, it's true there are a lot of grammatical and spelling errors throughout; but, to be honest, this pales into complete insignificance (and I speak as someone who is reasonably - perhaps unreasonably - fastidious in such matters) when set against the actual content of the book - which is riveting. It is the result of an extraordinary amount of work, research and obviously sheer dedication and enthusiasm for the subject. No stone is left unturned, no side road or cul-de-sac unexplored, as Peet Johnson covers every inch of the ground, and fills in the detail that answers the many questions I'm sure many Focus fans had regarding the story behind-the-scenes. All those passing players in the drama, all those interesting and sometimes cryptic song titles, the references to classical works both well-known and obscure, those subtle differences in versions released in different countries, the story behind the artwork and album covers - all is gone over with a fine tooth-comb and brought to life for us in Peet's very readable, engaging and entertaining style.

Peet Johnson assures us in his notes that, where there are conflicting versions of events, he has reported all the varying accounts; and, true to his word, he deals in an objective and evenhanded fashion with the many disagreements and disputes within the group, and changes of personnel. The impression one is left with is that, although much great music came out of this somewhat dysfunctional melting pot, it was by no means all achieved within a very harmonious context. Certainly it seems strange, and somewhat regrettable, that, over the years, so many amazing musicians have appeared unable to hold down a place in the troubled Focus family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Not the best author I have encountered, but he has researched the work very deeply. Worth reading for Focus fans.
Published 6 months ago by D. M. Littlejohn
5.0 out of 5 stars And I thought that I knew all about Focus
What a perfect book for a long term Focus fan. Having followed Focus since the early days it's great to find a book that explains what happened at various stages in the development... Read more
Published 12 months ago by TommysKeeper
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book, but ...
I can still remember hearing the album "Moving Waves" for the first time back in the seventies. I've been a Focus fan ever since. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr. R. Caley
3.0 out of 5 stars Focus book
was expecting a lot from this as a lifelong focus (Jan Akkerman) fan. However apart from a few new insights it's not the best book in the world, sadly
Published 15 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Hocus Pocus Focus
This book is a fine chronicle of a place where rare talent and exquisite music has had and has it`s home. Peet has done a brilliant job.
Published 15 months ago by Jim Sloane
3.0 out of 5 stars Focus sans Proof-reader
Ok, there's a reason why my title refers rather weakly to the pretty awful Focus con Proby album: it needn't have been such a deeply disappointing piece of work, had they avoided... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Stuart Wilson
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money on this!!
Recently I bought a copy of Hocus Pocus for my cousin's 60th birthday, since he was a big Focus fan back in the 70s. Read more
Published 17 months ago by toy reviewer
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