XYZ were a short-lived rock supergroup. The name XYZ is taken from eX-Yes-&-Zeppelin as the group consisted of ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, along with ex-Yes members Chris Squire (bass guitar, vocals, keyboards) and Alan White (drums). Their alliance was forged after Squire met Page by chance at a party shortly before Christmas 1980. The group also featured former Greenslade keyboard player and vocalist Dave Lawson. Squire was the main writer for the group. Page believed the band needed a strong vocalist and sought out former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant. Plant did attend one XYZ rehearsal on 28 February 1981, but decided not to join the group citing his dislike for the complexity of the music, and because he was still deeply hurt by the recent death of his long-time friend, and Led Zeppelin's drummer, John Bonham.
Without a firm commitment from Plant, and contractual issues on who should manage the group (Peter Grant or Brian Lane), the project was shelved shortly thereafter.
With XYZ's future in limbo, Squire and White recorded a Christmas single called "Run with the Fox", in October 1981 at Squire's house, New Pipers, before forming Cinema, with guitarist Trevor Rabin and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Rabin initially attempted to rework the XYZ material along with his solo songs for the new group. Cinema went on to become a reformation of Yes with the addition of singer Jon Anderson, and the recording of the album 90125 in 1983. It is unclear what of the XYZ material made it to 90125, but White said in a 2008 interview that "those were the beginning of some songs that ended up on the next Yes album any way." And he confirmed material was used on 90125 album in a 2012 interview.
In 1984, Jimmy Page joined Yes, including Squire and White, on stage, playing "I'm Down" during a concert in their 9012Live tour at Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany.
A four-song demo tape of XYZ consisting of two instrumentals as well as "Can You See" and "Telephone Secrets" with vocals from Squire exists and can be found on ROIO trading sites. One of the instrumentals was reworked and became part of "Mind Drive" on the 1997 Yes album Keys to Ascension 2 (credited as a band composition) whilst "Can You See" would resurface as "Can You Imagine" on the 2001 Yes album Magnification. The other instrumental was used for the intro to The Firm's "Fortune Hunter".
Recently, Page has mooted the possibility of releasing the material. Squire supports the idea, but has said that Page has yet to discuss the matter with him. Squire also explained, "One of the tracks ended up being called "Fortune Hunter" ... that was a riff that Jimmy brought into the mix anyway. Part of our song "Mind Drive" was also from those sessions as well. ... Most of the songs were mine. I'm the only vocalist on it."
Jimmy Page - lead guitar,
Dave Lawson - keyboards,
Chris Squire - bass guitar, keyboards, vocals,
Alan White - drums
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