Chris Squire: Robert Plant Wasn't Ready for Yes/Led Zeppelin Supergroup, XYZ

Yes bassist Chris Squire says XYZ, the short-lived supergroup featuring members of Yes and Led Zeppelin, never took flight because the timing was terrible for Robert Plant.

“Robert Plant was going to come in and join with us and do the singing at some point, but it was really a bit too soon after John Bonham departed this world for Robert to get back into it," Squire told the Australia-based in advance of Yes' spring tour of Australia and New Zealand. "That is why it didn’t come together.”

XYZ (And we are not talking about the late-'80s -- and still-touring -- LA-based band of the same name) was an acronym for eX-Yes and Zeppelin. The band featured Jimmy Page on guitar, Squire on bass and Yes drummer Alan White. The trio recorded several demos in the early '80s.

Page, however, felt the band needed a strong vocalist and suggested Plant, but it never quite happened, although he apparently attended one rehearsal in 1981.

Some say the demos were leaked by a studio employee; others say they were stolen from Page's home. Either way, they are available on YouTube, and you can check them out below.

“You can find them on YouTube,” Squire said. “They were only demos. Nothing was ever finished, but somehow they got snuck out of the studio by some engineer or somebody at some point. They are not finished demos if you track them down. They are quite exciting. It is worth having a look for them if you are interested.”

If this story puts you on the prowl for more XYZ info, check out this early-'90s, XYZ-centric interview with White.


The main theme from this song was later used by Yes on a song called "Mind Drive." The main riff was used by Page on "Fortune Hunter" by The Firm.

DEMO 2:This track is often called "Can You See" or "And (Do) You Believe It." It was eventually recorded by Yes as "Can You Imagine." Squire sings.DEMO 3:This track is often called "Telephone Secrets" or "Telephone Spies."

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.