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Hugh Hoyland

Jimmy Page XYZ

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I ran into this project a few years back. For the longest time I had no idea that it even existed. It was a proposed project Jimmy Page put together with Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes in 1981 called XYZ. From the four songs I've heard this band had a lot of potential to be something very interesting. Unfortunatly it was scrapped before it got to far off the ground. I Also heard an interesting interview I believe Squire gave about the Project where he says Pages attitude was "He had moved on from Led Zeppelin (sound familier? lol)" and wanted to do something different. He also has some interesting comments about Plants involvment as well.

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I ran into this project a few years back. For the longest time I had no idea that it even existed. It was a proposed project Jimmy Page put together with Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes in 1981 called XYZ. From the four songs I've heard this band had a lot of potential to be something very interesting. Unfortunately it was scrapped before it got to far off the ground. I Also heard an interesting interview I believe Squire gave about the Project where he says Pages attitude was "He had moved on from Led Zeppelin (sound familier? lol)" and wanted to do something different. He also has some interesting comments about Plants involvment as well.

IMHO a more accurate summation may be Chris Squire & Alan White of Yes wrote and recorded about seven tracks during sessions with Jimmy at his Sol Studio starting on Feb 28, 1981. Jimmy would later use some of Squire's ideas for The Firm

(when you compare tracks from the "XYZ" sessions to those on The Firm's 1985 debut album there are overt similarities).

I beg to differ Jimmy had fully moved on from the demise of Led Zeppelin. I think he was still coming to terms with it and as such quickly found he was simply not up to pursuing this or any other opportunity further. Contrary to a few press reports, Robert did not participate at all, and I presume if Squire had any comment about Robert it must have been to affirm Robert's disinterest/non-involvement.

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IMHO a more accurate summation may be Chris Squire & Alan White of Yes wrote and recorded about seven tracks during sessions with Jimmy at his Sol Studio starting on Feb 28, 1981. Jimmy would later use some of Squire's ideas for The Firm

(when you compare tracks from the "XYZ" sessions to those on The Firm's 1985 debut album there are overt similarities).

I beg to differ Jimmy had fully moved on from the demise of Led Zeppelin. I think he was still coming to terms with it and as such quickly found he was simply not up to pursuing this or any other opportunity further. Contrary to a few press reports, Robert did not participate at all, and I presume if Squire had any comment about Robert it must have been to affirm Robert's disinterest/non-involvement.

Squire said it was what Page wanted to do and stated as much to them, but obviously he was still suffering the trauma of John Bonham's death to do much of anything at that point. Squire also said that Plant did in fact come in for rehearsals (one days worth), but told them he couldnt do progressive rock stuff, "Im a Rock singer!" was the reason he gave for bowing out so quickly. Squire found that ironic because he felt a lot of Plants later solo material had a more "progressive" direction than just Rock. To me its kind of funny that Page was the one, at that time, at least saying he wanted to "move on" and do new stuff while Plant said he didnt want to because he was a rocker lol. I think the interview can be found on youtube to get a more indepth listen to what Squire said went down during that project.

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Squire said it was what Page wanted to do and stated as much to them, but obviously he was still suffering the trauma of John Bonham's death to do much of anything at that point. Squire also said that Plant did in fact come in for rehearsals (one days worth), but told them he couldnt do progressive rock stuff, "Im a Rock singer!" was the reason he gave for bowing out so quickly. Squire found that ironic because he felt a lot of Plants later solo material had a more "progressive" direction than just Rock. To me its kind of funny that Page was the one, at that time, at least saying he wanted to "move on" and do new stuff while Plant said he didnt want to because he was a rocker lol. I think the interview can be found on youtube to get a more indepth listen to what Squire said went down during that project.

Vaguely recall Squire saying Robert stopped by, but the press falsely reported he was actively involved/participating. All of the known tracks recorded during those sessions are instrumentals. Robert had already begun recording in the Midlands with Ricky Cool on harmonica and Kev J O'Neill on drums; this lead to gigging as The Honeydrippers with the first one just nine days after the first "XXY" session was held.

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Thanks alot for the link.

The material is nice but not mindblowing.When I heard about this giant lineup I expected they compose a mixture of:

"Close to the edge" and "Dazed and Confused".This would have been a new masterpiece.

So maybe we are lucky that they stopped this project in a short time.

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Thanks alot for the link.

The material is nice but not mindblowing.When I heard about this giant lineup I expected they compose a mixture of:

"Close to the edge" and "Dazed and Confused".This would have been a new masterpiece.

So maybe we are lucky that they stopped this project in a short time.

Your welcome! Yeah well for starters Squire basically said in so many words that Jimmy was an all around mess (lots of booze) while doing this. So its any wonder they managed to do anything all. I still think something special could have come out of it, alas I suppose we'll never know. :]

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The XYZ recordings ended up as material for the Firm (Fortune Hunter) and Yes (Magnification CD).

Edited by sixpense

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Personally, I find the combination of Jimmy's guitar and Squire's bass very exciting, even in these rough demos. And Alan White is a powerhouse drummer. If they could have found a strong/interesting lead singer* I'm sure they would've been successful.

*not to imply that Chris Squire isn't a very able singer - he's an outstanding harmony singer - but perhaps missing that je'n sais quoi as a lead

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Personally, I find the combination of Jimmy's guitar and Squire's bass very exciting, even in these rough demos. And Alan White is a powerhouse drummer. If they could have found a strong/interesting lead singer* I'm sure they would've been successful.

*not to imply that Chris Squire isn't a very able singer - he's an outstanding harmony singer - but perhaps missing that je'n sais quoi as a lead

I totally agree. I'm a big fan of Yes and would have loved to have heard the XYZ project realised, if only for a single album. Those few years produced some very exciting Chris Squire projects, IMHO. The Drama album of 1980 w/ Downes & Horn was an great mix of New Wave & Prog, and of course, 90125 was a classic example of chops-oriented pop. A collaborative album with Jimmy Page would surely would have been interesting as well.

Even though Chris's vocals were cool on the XYZ demo, I concur that his strengths are background/harmony singing. Funny thing: years ago I had a tape deck component which had a pitch dial. I never had any use for this feature until I had the bright idea of taking my XYZ tape and dialing up the pitch to make Chris sound like Jon Anderson! The results were great. "Mind Drive" became something akin to "Heart Of The Sunrise" having had a bastard child (lol).

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I totally agree. I'm a big fan of Yes and would have loved to have heard the XYZ project realised, if only for a single album. Those few years produced some very exciting Chris Squire projects, IMHO. The Drama album of 1980 w/ Downes & Horn was an great mix of New Wave & Prog, and of course, 90125 was a classic example of chops-oriented pop. A collaborative album with Jimmy Page would surely would have been interesting as well.

Even though Chris's vocals were cool on the XYZ demo, I concur that his strengths are background/harmony singing. Funny thing: years ago I had a tape deck component which had a pitch dial. I never had any use for this feature until I had the bright idea of taking my XYZ tape and dialing up the pitch to make Chris sound like Jon Anderson! The results were great. "Mind Drive" became something akin to "Heart Of The Sunrise" having had a bastard child (lol).

Pretty cool what you did. I've heard bits of this and if had really been brought together it could have been something. But unfortunately, Jimmy's state wasn't the best during this period, with the Zeppelin fallout etc.

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This another Zep / Yes collaboration of sorts.

Oh my gosh, I have never heard of this record!

I have to ask,-- because I know that is not Jon Anderson or Jimmy Page singing lead.....is it John Paul Jones singing lead??

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I have to ask,-- because I know that is not Jon Anderson or Jimmy Page singing lead.....is it John Paul Jones singing lead??

Yes, JPJ sang lead vocals on "Bad Child" and "When You Fall In Love" (the only time he sang lead vocals from 1963-2001). Jon Anderson sang lead on "Silver Train" and "Christie" on the same soundtrack.

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