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Jan Akkerman

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Prog rock

Jan Akkerman Biography

By the dawn of the 1970's, Jan Akkerman was seen as the best guitarist in Holland and considered the main talent in the band Brainbox.  He was later fired by the band and the reason was given that he had been rehearsing with Thijs Van Leer.  Thijs is a musician with whom Jan was to have a very fruitful musical relationship.  With the formation of Focus in 1971, Jan found himself in an altogether more progressive environment.    Focus very quickly became world renowned,  recording and releasing albums including the massive sellers ‘Moving Waves’, ‘Focus III’, ‘Hamburger Concerto’ and ‘Mother Focus’.
In 1973 Jan won the title, ‘Best Guitarist’ in the annual Melody Maker poll.  Focus toured Britain extensively in 1973 on the back of recordings such as ‘Moving Waves’ and ‘Focus III’, both of which were to enter the British album charts at the end of 1972. Due to a well-timed appearance on the BBC programme, ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’, Focus also scored two hit singles with ‘Sylvia’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’, both of which featured Jan’s incendiary guitar playing.  The band also had immense talent which was able to back up the critical plaudits that were by now becoming commonplace. From success in Europe, Focus moved on to America and made headway in the hardest of markets to crack. Jan left Focus suddenly in 1976 on the eve of a British tour, but he was far from idle. He renewed his acquaintance with Kaz Lux, formerly the vocalist with Brainbox and Pierre van der Linden who had also been with Brainbox and Focus.  They united to make the album ‘Eli’ after which, Jan, Kaz and Pierre formed the basis of a band which conducted a short lived tour of the U.K. before splitting.

Jan would remain a solo artist either appearing alone or with musicians that became the basis of a number of different "Jan Akkerman" bands. By the early eighties Jan, like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, was releasing albums to a definite and appreciative fan base.  He was to release an album which many still hold in regard to this day, the critically acclaimed ‘Aranjuez’, which was recorded with Claus Ogerman.  In 1983 Jan released his most recent album  ‘Can't Stand Noise’, for the CBS / Sony label.   The British Television Company Channel Four commissioned a one-hour special which would include interview footage and a live performance.  This was specially set up with short notice at The Venue in London.

Jan broke his back after a terrible car accident in 1992, which meant he had to take some time out to recover. The four years after his recovery, Jan embarked on a series of short tours with various ‘Jan Akkerman’ bands.   This included visiting the U.K. in 1997, the first time for many years.  Since then he has continued to perform as well as to record and release albums.


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