For those who can think back to the early 1980s, there was a time when a supergroup that combined the talents of Yes and Led Zeppelin looked like a possibility.
The short-lived project, titled XYZ for “Ex Yes and Led Zeppelin,” was abandoned in 1981 for a number of reasons, one of those being that it took place too soon after the death of John Bonham for Page’s comfort. That was also one of the reasons Robert Plant also decided not to take part after visiting the fledgling band in the studio.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Yes drummer Alan White said that the recordings are worth releasing and if White has his way, he’d like to see Robert Plant on lead vocals.
White said he still retains hope that the unfinished recordings featuring late bandmate Chris Squire and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page could be released. He added, that it would be “quite amazing” if Robert Plant could be persuaded to sing on them.
White recalled how the musicians got together: “Chris said to me, ‘Jimmy Page wants you to come out west and come over. We started jamming in Jimmy’s studio for a while. Chris had some ideas. I had some ideas. most of the stuff we actually recorded was stuff that Chris and myself wrote.” He also said that Plant came down to the studio to listen to the recordings, but at that time his feeling was that the music was too complicated for his style.
Another reason that things didn’t get off the ground, and is wont to happen when musicians – especially major musicians – get together and talk about joining forces, politics got in the way. White recalled that once band management got involved, interest waned.
White said that the topic of XYZ was discussed recently with Page. “Jimmy said, ‘I want to dig those tapes up and finish them off and release an album.’”I said, ‘Just call me.’ I think he put the project on hold though when he got back to England.” So will it or won’t it happen? White added that he needs “to get in touch with Jimmy and be like, ‘Let’s finish those tapes off.’ Maybe we can get Robert to sing on them or something. That would be quite amazing.”