Focus is the 1970s Dutch progressive rock band best known for the novelty song “Hocus Pocus”—you know, the one with the yodeling. But the song also includes some fierce guitar work by Jan Akkerman, who was, in my view, the greatest guitarist of the rock era. Let the arguments begin. . . .

Focus was much more than just “Hocus Pocus”—their song “Sylvia” (from the superb album Focus 3) was a big hit in Europe and also did fairly well in the United States. One of the band’s very finest compositions is “Hanburger Concerto,” from the album of the same name. The main theme is based on a variation by Johannes Brahms of a theme by the beloved Papa Haydn, which was first played in Hamburg, Germany.

The following clip presents a live performance of part of “Hamburger Concerto.”

Nota bene Akkerman’s guitar solo beginning around the 6:10 mark.