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Focus / 50 Years: Anthology 1970-1976

9CD+2DVD box set

50 Years: Anthology 1970-1976 is a forthcoming box set that contains the complete work of Dutch rock group Focus between 1970 and 1976.

The band – guitarist Jan Akkerman, keyboard player Thijs van Leer, bass player Bert Ruiter and drummer Pierre van der Linden – enjoyed global success during their first six years, touring extensively in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Japan.

Focus scored two unlikely worldwide hit singles with ‘Hocus Pocus’ and ‘Sylvia’ and sold several million albums during this period (such as ‘Moving Waves’, ‘Focus 3’ and ‘Hamburger Concerto’).

50 Years: Anthology 1970-1976 is curated by Focus/Jan Akkerman archivist Wouter Bessels (he previously curated the 26CD Akkerman box and recently worked on the forthcoming Tangerine Dream box set), and features newly remastered versions of the first five studio albums all of which come with rare bonus tracks (single versions, alternates, rough mixes). Additionally, it includes 1973 live album At The Rainbow, the Ship of Memories compilation from 1976 (which features 11 bonus tracks), the complete BBC In Concert 1973 gig taken from the original stereo master tapes and a disc of unreleased live performances.

Two DVDs (PAL, region-free) contain over four hours of audiovisual material taken from the archives of various TV stations around the world and include the first official release of the 1973 ‘Focus At The Rainbow’ concert movie, carefully restored from the original 16 mm film.

The box set comes with an 80-page booklet with band history, liner notes and various memorabilia.

50 Years: Anthology 1970-1976 is released by Red Bullet Productions on 13 November
2020.

It may take a while for this to seep through to various retailers, but it is available on JPC in Germany for €37 (they ship internationally) as well as what’s in the widget below.

Compare prices and pre-order

Focus

Focus 50 Years Anthology - 11-disc box set

Currency:

* Previously unreleased
** Previously unreleased on cd

CD1 – FOCUS PLAYS FOCUS / IN AND OUT OF FOCUS
Original release: 1970

  1. Focus (instrumental) 9.46
  2. Why Dream 3.56
  3. Happy Nightmare (Mescaline) 3.56
  4. Anonymus 7.01
  5. Black Beauty 3.05
  6. Sugar Island 3.02
  7. Focus (vocal) 2.43

BONUS TRACKS

  1. House Of The King 2.23
  2. Eruption (Live Lanx 1970) 37.31 *

CD2 – FOCUS II / MOVING WAVES
Original release: 1971

  1. Hocus Pocus 6.41
  2. Le Clochard (Bread) 1.59
  3. Janis 3.06
  4. Moving Waves 2.41
  5. Focus II 4.03
  6. Eruption (Orfeus – Answer – Orfeus – Answer – Pupilla – Tommy – Pupilla – Answer – The Bridge – Euridice – Dayglow – Endless Road – Answer – Orfeus – Euridice) 23.07

BONUS TRACKS

  1. Hocus Pocus (single version) 3.27 **
  2. Tommy (single version) 3.25
  3. Focus I (Live Texel 1971) 14.11 *

CD3 – FOCUS 3
Original release: 1972

  1. Round Goes The Gossip… 5.16
  2. Love Remembered 2.48
  3. Sylvia 3.32
  4. Carnival Fugue 6.07
  5. Focus III 6.05
  6. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers! 14.03
  7. Anonymus II (Part 1) 19.33 **
  8. Anonymus II (Conclusion) 7.34 **
  9. Elspeth Of Nottingham 3.13

BONUS TRACKS

  1. Sylvia (single version) 3.32 **
  2. Love Remembered (single version) 2.49 **
  3. Hocus Pocus (US single version) 3.25

CD4 – AT THE RAINBOW
Original release: 1973

  1. Focus III 3.52
  2. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers! 11.26
  3. Focus II 4.24
  4. Eruption (Orfeus – Answer – Orfeus – Answer – Pupilla – Tommy – Pupilla) 8.40
  5. Hocus Pocus 8.27
  6. Sylvia 2.47
  7. Hocus Pocus – reprise 2.48

BONUS TRACKS

  1. P’s March (original mix – single version) 3.27 *
  2. Ship Of Memories (original mix) 4.40 *
  3. P’s March (original mix – full version) 4.03 *

CD5 – HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Original release: 1974

  1. Delitiæ Musicæ 1.13
  2. Harem Scarem 5.50
  3. La Cathédrale de Strasbourg 4.57
  4. Birth 7.45
  5. Hamburger Concerto (Starter – Rare – Medium I – Medium II – Well Done – One For The Road) 20.23

BONUS TRACKS

  1. Early Birth 2.56
  2. Harem Scarem (single version) 3.08 **
  3. Birth (alternate mix) 7.43 **
  4. Harem Scarem (alternate mix) 5.51 **

CD6 – MOTHER FOCUS
Original release: 1975

  1. Mother Focus 3.05
  2. I Need A Bathroom 3.04
  3. Bennie Helder 3.33
  4. Soft Vanilla 3.04
  5. Hard Vanilla 2.35
  6. Tropic Bird 2.45
  7. Focus IV 3.57
  8. Someone’s Crying… What! 3.19
  9. All Together… Oh That! 3.41
  10. No Hang Ups 2.56
  11. My Sweetheart 3.38
  12. Father Bach 1.33

BONUS TRACKS

  1. Focus IV (rough mix) 4.02 *
  2. Bennie Helder (rough mix) 3.45 *
  3. Vanilla (rough mix) 5.42 *
  4. Mother Focus (rough mix) 3.02 *
  5. All Together… Oh That! (rough mix) 3.42 *
  6. My Sweetheart (rough mix) 3.46 *
  7. Someone’s Crying… What! (rough mix) 3.18 *
  8. Studio 55 Jam 6.56 *


CD7 – SHIP OF MEMORIES
Original release: 1976

  1. P’s March 4.48
  2. Can’t Believe My Eyes 5.22
  3. Focus V 3.02
  4. Out Of Vesuvius 5.51
  5. Glider 4.40
  6. Red Sky At Night 5.52
  7. Spoke The Lord Creator 2.33
  8. Crackers 2.42
  9. Ship Of Memories 1.47BONUS TRACKS
  10. Elektrisch Levenslicht (Neerlands Hoop in Bange Dagen) 3.09
  11. The Shrine Of God (Ramses Shaffy with group Focus) 3.39
  12. Watch The Ugly People (Ramses Shaffy with group Focus) 2.19
  13. House Of The King (rough mix version 1) 2.27 *
  14. House Of The King (rough mix version 2) 2.26 *
  15. Focus III (unreleased single version) 4.37 *
  16. Hocus Pocus (US single version – takes 14-17) 7.12 *
  17. Glider (single version) 3.28 **
  18. P’s March (single version) 4.07 **
  19. O Avondrood 5.10 **
  20. Crackers (vocal version) 2.31 **

CD8 – FOCUS BBC 1973

  1. Focus III 3.54 *
  2. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers! 12.09 *
  3. Focus II 5.06 *
  4. Anonymus II 23.30 *
  5. Focus I 4.27 *
  6. Hocus Pocus 7.38 *
  7. Sylvia – Hocus Pocus (reprise) 5.52 *

Produced and recorded by BBC Radio 1 In Concert, Paris Theatre, London, 17th January 1973.

CD9 – LIVE 1971 – 1975

  1. Eruption (Live Rotterdam 1971) 46.37 *
  2. Birth 11.38 *
  3. Improvisation #1 8.35 *
  4. House Of The King 3.02 *
  5. Improvisation #2 6.23 *
  6. Hocus Pocus 3.20 *

Track 1: Recorded by AVRO radio at the Newport Jazz Festival, Grote Zaal, De Doelen, Rotterdam, 29th October 1971. Track 2: Recorded at the Festival Hall, Osaka, 2nd July 1974. Track 3-6: Recorded at Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, 21st June 1975.

DVD1 – FOCUS SIGHT & SOUND VOL. 1

  1. BBC The Old Grey Whistle Test (May 1972) 24.26 *
  2. BBC The Old Grey Whistle Test (December 1972) 16.01 *
  3. Focus At The Rainbow (May 1973) 47.28 *
  4. BBC In Concert (April 1974) 36.18 *

DVD2 – FOCUS SIGHT & SOUND VOL. 2

  1. NOS Van Gewest Tot Gewest (July 1970) 1.54 *
  2. NOS Uit De Kunst (June 1972) 3.51 *
  3. RTE The Music Makers: Focus at the Stadium (November 1973) 48.00 *
  4. VARA Nederpopzien (December 1973) 34.22 *
  5. AVRO Toppop: Harem Scarem (May 1974) 3.01 *
  6. AVRO Toppop: O Avondrood (June 1976) 4.51 *
  7. Veronica Goud van Oud (April 1990) 16.44 *
  8. NCRV Classic Albums: Moving Waves (June 1997) 50.02 *

59 responses to Focus / 50 Years: Anthology 1970-1976

  1. Geof says:

    The region codes designate the countries. The format of PAL vs. NTSC is a different issue. Quoting a website: “NTSC is an analog TV color system used in North America, Central America, and parts of South America. PAL is an analog TV color system used in Europe, Australia, parts of Asia, parts of Africa, and parts of South America.”

    A disc that is “O region-free” but in PAL will not play on the average NTSC player. However, countries where PAL is the standard can play NTSC discs on their players. That’s why releasing this in PAL in 2020 makes little sense when most companies these days are releasing titles in NTSC so no country will have an issue playing them.

    And from Wikipedia: “In general, it is easier for consumers in PAL/SECAM countries to view NTSC DVDs than vice versa. Almost all DVD players sold in PAL/SECAM countries are capable of playing both kinds of discs. However, most NTSC players cannot play PAL discs.”

    • Wouter B says:

      Hi,

      Both DVDs in the box are PAL region free – that’s the way they are, mainly because the source material is in PAL format and the record company didn’t want to downgrade to NTSC. Remember: PAL has more signal lines (in the case of DVD: more vertical pixels) in comparison to NTSC.
      Apart from that: a lot of (US) buyers of the box have already contacted me and said that playing PAL discs on their setup is no problem anyway.

      Best wishes,
      Wouter

  2. Geof says:

    Well, neither Amazon Germany or France will accept my order with my US address, and unless I missed it, JPC doesn’t list the US in their list of countries and shipping rates, so I’m not sure how we in the US can pre-order this at this time. Hopefully Amazon UK or a US dealer like ImportCDs will be stocking it at a reasonable price.

  3. Geof says:

    Same question as LG. A friend of mine in Europe says all European DVD players play both PAL and NTSC but here in the US, most don’t play PAL (and yes, I know there are some that do, but generally most don’t). So why not just make the pressings in region-free NTSC format? Many European DVDs I’ve gotten use that formula.

    I’ve bought all the basic albums a number of times, individually as the initial releases, then the remastered versions, then the last box set, and now again. But the bonus tracks, and how impressive the Akkerman set was — and with some input from Mr. Wilson — make this a must-have.

    • Anthony says:

      The only thing that matters are they are region free, PAL and NTSC is not a format so should work on any DVD or Blu ray players around the world. that is why they are called region free.

    • Ron Frey says:

      Region free will ay in the US

  4. Rik K says:

    I tried to order this directly from JPC, and received a notice that it cannot be shipped to Canada. I wonder if this is because the DVDs are in PAL format? Also, some European countries’ postal services have suspended delivery to certain countries, due to Covid-19. At least this is what one German seller on Discogs told me a couple of months ago when he refused to accept my order.

    As an aside, I do own one PAL DVD from Australia, region 0, and it does play on my North American Oppo player. I was willing to take the risk on this Focus set.

    • Ex-Oligarch says:

      The ability to handle all regions and formats was a selling point of the Oppo line.

      • Phil Cohen says:

        The stock,off the shelf Oppo disc players can handle all “All Regions” or Region Zero discs. All 3 of my Oppo players were purchased as modified “Code-Free” players that can ignore region codes as well.
        It still upsets me that there is not yet a dealer who is willing to supply the Focus box to American customers. Yes, undoubtedly, the nine discs of audio material will appear on illegal download sites, but those sites won’t offer the video material.
        I’m willing to purchase this boxed set….if someone will sell it to me. Perhaps, after the release date, someone on Ebay will offer the set.

    • Barry S. says:

      I emailed them, it is because DHL won’t ship to Canada as of now. We may be screwed if Amazon.ca or Super D does not carry the set.

  5. Eddy Flycatcher says:

    I still have all the original EMI Focus CD’s they sound good to me, but I did listen to the remasters that were released back in 2001 by Red Bullet and they sound absolutely horrible, all the dynamics are gone and way too much highs…so how do these remasters compare to those? Are these also compressed to hell?

  6. Helmut says:

    Interesting to see that currently the Focus box is at number 4 in the JPC rock charts only topped by three different versions of the new AC/DC album. This might have to do quite a bit with this site leading people there (and the price JPC are asking obviously).

  7. Grum says:

    Just ordered from jpc – at current exchange rate it was £37.75 including postage to UK – a bargain! Thanks for the heads up on this one.

  8. Rett says:

    This is an AMAZING thing Paul (& Wouter).

    Having the box set’s architect answering queries in real time is truly as good as it gets.

    Too bad about the multis but good to have what we got.

    Keep pushing the envelope Paul, congrats.

    R2

  9. Barnaba says:

    The set looks absolutely awesome – and I can’t believe it’s that cheap. Instant buy!

  10. Ex-Oligarch says:

    This set looks so well-conceived, comprehensive, loaded with rare material, nicely packaged, and affordably priced, that I’m sorely tempted to buy it on general principle — and I don’t even like Focus.

    If only all bands and labels took such care when preparing reissues of older material.

    Congratulations, Wouter, on a job well done.

  11. Donovan says:

    So it looks like this set was available in the US via Amazon in 2017. About 80% of the comments were highly positive but, most commentators agreed that it was not re-mastered. Will it be this time?

    And yes, this does sound like a job for Steven Wilson.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I don’t think anyone claimed the last box was remastered. They are saying this one is.

    • Colin Harper says:

      It was not, in any way, ‘this set’ that was previously available.

    • Jarmo Keranen says:

      Available in the US via Amazon in 2017? How’s that possible when the release date for this is November 2020? The booklet of Hocus Pocus Box in 2017 says it was pre-mastered. I have asked this once before but what’s the difference between pre-mastered and re-mastered?

    • Wouter B says:

      Hi Donovan,

      The 2017 box does not contain remasters of the original albums.

      However, this new box does: since 1987, the original tapes have been used for that purpose.

      Steven Wilson does not do remastering, though he does remixing.
      But unfortunately, there are no multis left of the Focus albums.

      Best wishes,
      Wouter

  12. MARK LEVY says:

    I only know two FOCUS tracks, Hocus Pocus (my favourite) and SYLVIA.

  13. JACQUES PAQUET says:

    JPC don’t seem to ship to Canada.

  14. Electric Sydney says:

    I see the price at Amazon DE dropped to €39.99.

  15. Simon George says:

    I had left the previous box set alone as I already had most of the albums that I would consider their best (this era) even though it was a good price. However couldn’t resist this given all the bonus material and the DVDs.

    Ordered from JPC.de as soon as I saw the post this afternoon and was under £40 delivered to the UK.

    I was introduced to Focus III as a white label pressing by my uncle just before it became commercially available in 1972 as a 16 year old. Along with Al Stewart, Cat Stevens, etc. of the same period. Became one of my few LPs at that age alongside ELP’s Pictures and Jethro Tull’s TAAB.

  16. Albert Stoffer says:

    I have the Focus Box, but I also preordered this one from JPC. I am curious about the remastering, bonus songs and live recordings. Nice that the 1st CD (LP) has the Dutch cover. Thanks Wouter.

  17. Paul Wren says:

    Quality band and a quality box set. It would be nice to get some of the bonus material out on vinyl as well.

  18. Gary Thompson says:

    Just under £40 delivered to NI from JPC in Germany. At that price it would be silly not to buy one!

  19. JohnnyJohn says:

    Good news.
    Try to order from JPC to Canada and the web site tells that they can deliver to Canada ! I’have previously ordered from JPC and I have an account there. So..?

  20. Andrew r says:

    Is this likely to be a limited run ? Do I need to rush ? Thanks Paul

    • Wouter B says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Yes – it’s a limited run. Not VERY limited… but limited.

      Regards,
      Wouter

      • John says:

        Many thanks for the information and for your excellent work,Wouter!

        I wonder if it will last long enough for Paul or Ama*on etc to get copies?

      • andrew r says:

        Very kind of you to reply . Also cool to have the reply
        from the guy overseeing the remaster . We need more of this
        are you listening Sig Visconti?

  21. Peter Robinson says:

    I love the fact that this comment section is turning into some kind informal Q&A with the archivist. It’s good of you to take some time out to address the questions. Also makes for fascinating reading.

    • Wouter B says:

      Hi Peter,

      My pleasure. : )
      I do engage here in the conversation for a good reason: providing first hand (and correct) information about this release and answering any questions about the background of the production/compiling of the box – as far as I’m able/allowed to.

      Hope you’ll like the box. Enjoy the music!

      Regards,
      Wouter

  22. Colin Harper says:

    Interesting to see from the photo that the original Dutch sleeve designs for the first two LPs – known in the Anglophone world as ‘In and Out of Focus’ and ‘Moving Waves’, but originally (in the Netherlands) as ‘Focus Plays Focus’ and ‘Focus II’ – are being used. I don’t think these designs/titles have been used on any previous CD issues. Nice to see that the various original LP gatefolds have been replicated too. For my money, ‘Focus III’ is the pinnacle of all progressive-rock albums – although ‘House of the King’ has been quietly removed from it, I see. This was a 1970 Netherlands single that was added to even the Netherlands version of the 1972 ‘Focus III’ 2LP (and all other countries’ versions of it)… as well as being added to the belated UK version of ‘Focus Plays Focus’ (i.e. ‘In and out of Focus’). It makes sense, chronologically, to have it added in this box set to the first album… though it also messes about with history, in a way, by removing it from ‘Focus III’, where its presence at the end will be a part of a lot of people’s memories… Did you make the decision, Wouter?

    • Wouter B says:

      Hi Colin,

      Yes I did.
      The starting point for this box set was to include all original (first) versions of the Focus albums – as they were released in The Netherlands. That includes the original artwork too, that has never been used on any digital format before. Most of the sleeves in the box are gatefolds (including the special die cut sleeve that was released in Germany for At the Rainbow!).

      Regarding House of the King: that track is some kind of a treasure trove in the box set. I was able to find the original 2-track master (not the album master version!), so that’s one generation better than what has heard before. And I also discovered two raw mixes – highlighting especially Martijn Dresden’s bass playing. Those two are included as bonus tracks on CD 7.

      Regarding Focus III: I decided to follow the original album order (with Anonymus II in two parts – another digital premier, this time with no music edited out in comparison with the old cds!), but I decided to leave off House of the King there at the end of the album. The track being there still feels very odd and out of place – and it was purely a marketing decision back in 1972!
      So House.. is now a bonus track on CD 1 – where is belongs, historically speaking.

      Regards,
      Wouter

  23. Regan Judson says:

    Very excited about this release and I have already pre-ordered. The DVD’s are PAL Region free…meaning they should play on one of my USA DVD players since they are region free right?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Not necessarily… NTSC is the standard in USA. Depends on your setup.

      • Glenn says:

        @Regan, PAL DVDs won’t play on standard US DVD or Blu-Ray players. I typically play PAL DVDs on my PC’s DVD drive.

        • Phil Cohen says:

          Oppo blu-ray players (in their stock, off the shelf form) can do PAL to NTSC & NTSC to PAL conversion, and can play an all regions PAL DVD through an American T.V.
          The PAL DVD can also be played on Apple iMAC computers.

  24. Jordan Farquharson says:

    Will the booklet or CD jackets include personnel notes?

  25. Helmut says:

    Well, undoubtedly this gives us some wonderful extras. As always, though, things will still remain in the vault. Why not release the Texel and Rotterdam 1971 shows in full? That would have been jaw-dropping. Still, this is as good as it gets and actually more than I hoped for, considering that such a Focus set will probably not be considered as profitable as other bands’ projects. As always thanks a lot for the news!

    • Wouter B says:

      Hi,

      The gig in Rotterdam 1971 only consisted of Eruption – as a support act to Miles Davis’ gig. After all, it was a jazz festival with a limited amount of performing time.

      Texel has not been issued in its entirety due to technical limitations.
      So I’m afraid you don’t miss out on anything jaw-dropping. :)

      Regards,
      Wouter

  26. John says:

    Really good news…seems like a really well considered set.I would hope to purchase soon.

    Are there likely to the any signed copies available?

    Many thanks..

  27. Jarmo Keranen says:

    At the end of 2017 i bought 13 disc Hocus Pocus Box. Now i had to buy this because at last they had remastered these albums and especially for those DVD:s. In Hocus Pocus Box they say that albums were pre-mastered. What does that mean? Hard to believe that i heard Focus for the first time in 1972. It’s almost 50 years!

  28. Colin Harper says:

    This is fantastic news for Focus fans. Wouter’s mastering on last year’s (1970-75 Focus guitarist) Jan Akkerman solo albums box set was terrific, and we expect the same standard here. Even aside from the wealth of bonus tracks and TV/film content, to have an upgrade on the mastering of the core canon for the first time is a blessing. The ‘vanilla’ 13CD Focus box set referred to simply copied previous masterings (and mastering errors – such as track idents in the wrong place). It’s fine for anyone who just wanted all the Focus albums in one place – the 1970-77 run, the 1990 Akkerman/Van Leer album entitled ‘Focus’, and the 2002+ rebooted Focus studio albums – but this set is going to be the last word on the ‘Jan Akkerman era’. It’s wonderful to see the Rainbow 1973 concert film released officially for the first time. And the price / value for money is extraordinary.

  29. Peter says:

    OMG! Another Focus box set? At less than 40 pounds from JPC shipped to the UK, it was straight in the cart.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  30. andrew r says:

    Wasn’t there a 13 cd box set out about 2years ago for less money ?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      That was a ‘all albums’ box. No bonus tracks, no DVDs etc.

      • Patrick says:

        Correct!
        Personnaly I think this one is absolutely worth the 37 euro.
        Just ordered mine through jpc.de at no extra shipping costs (for Belgium)! :-)

  31. Steven Roberts says:

    Is Steven Wilson not a fan? This sort of music is PERFECT for 5.1….

    Surprised in some respects to see this boxed-set put together (anniversary excepted), being as there was a career spanning 13 disc set put out only a few years ago (the Hocus Pocus box from 2017 which, curiously, at the time of writing is available on jpc.de for the same price as this new set).

    Presumably the carrots in this case are the bonus tracks and the archival video footage.

    Hmm. Maybe….

    • Wouter B says:

      Hi Steven,

      Unfortunately, there are no multis of the Focus albums left.

      But the new remasters in this box are a vast improvement over the previous ones… since 1987, the original master tapes hadn’t been touched and/or used!

      PS. Steven Wilson is indeed a fan of Focus and was partly involved in the production of this new box set: I have asked him for feedback on some remasters in this box.

      Regards,
      Wouter

      • Steven Roberts says:

        Hello Wouter,
        Thanks for the prompt response – even if the news re the multi-tracks was not what I’d hoped for :(

        Will this box set be getting a hi-res release at all, do you know? Just wondering if I should hold out for a 96/24 download or spring for the boxed-set :)

        • Wouter B says:

          Hi Steven,

          Re: hi-resolution. Nothing is planned at the moment.
          But all cd-remasters were done using 24/96 A->D transfers and downsampled to 16/44 at the very last step for mastering.

          Regards,
          Wouter

          • Steven Roberts says:

            Thanks again, Wouter :)

          • LG says:

            Hi Wouter, sorry if you already answered this question, but will there be a run with NTSC format DVDs for North America? Again, thank you so much!

            LG

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