Aja (album)

Aja (album)

Aja (pronounced [ˈʔɛjʒə]) is an album by the rock band Steely Dan. The album was named after the Korean wife of group co-founder Donald Fagen's friend's brother. Originally released in 1977, it became the group's best-selling album. Topping at #3 on the U.S. charts and #5 in the United Kingdom, it was the band's first platinum album, eventually going platinum twice. In July 1978, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording. It has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

The album is considered quite ambitious and sophisticated, and features several leading session musicians. The eight-minute-long title track features complex jazz-based changes and a solo by renowned saxophonist Wayne Shorter, as well as dextrous drumming by Steve Gadd - most notably at the end of the tune.

Aja is also the subject of one of the Classic Albums series of documentaries about the making of famous albums. The documentary includes a song-by-song study of the album (the only omission being "I Got the News," which is played during the closing credits), interviews with Steely Dan co-founders Walter Becker and Fagen (among others) plus new, live-in-studio versions of songs from the album, and the opportunity to hear some of the rejected (and uncredited) guitar solos for "Peg," before Jay Graydon produced the satisfactory take.

The album is also one of the only Steely Dan titles not available in a 5.1 version on any high-resolution audio format. When DTS attempted to make a 5.1 version, it was discovered that the multitrack masters for both "Black Cow" and the title track had gone missing. For this same reason, a multichannel SACD version was cancelled by Universal Music. Donald Fagen has offered a reward for the missing masters or any information that leads to their recovery.

Track listing

All songs written by Becker and Fagen.

  1. "Black Cow" – 5:10
  2. "Aja" – 7:57
  3. "Deacon Blues" – 7:37
  4. "Peg" – 3:57
  5. "Home at Last" – 5:34
  6. "I Got the News" – 5:06
  7. "Josie" – 4:33

Personnel

Production

  • Producer: Gary Katz
  • Engineers: Roger Nichols, Elliot Scheiner, Al Schmitt, Bill Schnee
  • Assistant engineers: Joe Bellamy, Lenise Bent, Ken Klinger, Ron Pangaliman, Ed Rack, Linda Tyler
  • Mastering: Bernie Grundman
  • Production coordination: Barbara Miller
  • Sound consultant: Dinky Dawson
  • Consultant: Daniel Levitin
  • Horn arrangements: Tom Scott
  • Art direction: Vartan Reissue
  • Design: Geoff Westen
  • Photography: Walter Becker
  • Liner notes: Walter Becker, Donald Fagen
  • Reissue coordination: Beth Stempel

Charts

Album
Year Chart Position
1977 Pop Albums 3

Pop Singles

Year Single Label & number Position
1978 "Peg" (B-side: "I Got the News") ABC 12320 11
1978 "Deacon Blues" (B-side: "Home at Last") ABC 12355 19
1978 "Josie" (B-side: "Black Cow") ABC 12404 26

Awards

Grammy Awards
Year Winner Category
1977 Aja Best Engineered Recording, Non Classical

In Popular Culture

  • New Jersey pop-punk band The Ergs! recorded a song called "Aja" on their EP Jersey's Best Prancers. The song contained the lyrics: "I met a girl named Aja, she said her dad loved Steely Dan. I laughed and asked her if her sister's name was Katy." The song ends repeating those lyrics, but "Katy" is replaced with "Pretzel Logic", references to the Steely Dan albums Katy Lied and Pretzel Logic.
  • Former porn star Aja took her stage name from the album.

External links

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