Aja was the album that made Steely Dan a commercial force on the order of contemporaries like Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles and Chicago. A double-platinum, Grammy-winning bestseller, it lingered on the Billboard charts for more than a year and spawned three hit singles. Odd, then, that its creators saw it as an ambitious, extended work, the apotheosis of their anti-rock, anti-band, anti-glamour aesthetic. Populated by thirty-fi ve mostly jazz session players, Aja served up prewar song forms, mixed meters and extended solos to a generation whose idea of pop daring was Paul letting Linda sing lead once in a while. And, impossibly, it sold. Including an in-depth interview with Donald Fagen, this book paints a detailed picture of the making of a masterpiece.
About the Author
Don Breithaupt is a studio musician and songwriter based in Toronto. He is the co-author of Precious and Few: Pop Music in the Early '70s and Night Moves: Pop Music in the Late '70s. A Berklee College of Music alumnus and three-time Juno Award nominee, he has written extensively on music and film for the National Post.