"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 antithesis of their anti-rock, anti-band, anti-glamour aesthetic. Populated by thirty-five mostly jazz session players, "Aja" served up pre-war 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.
Don Breithaupt is the author of two acclaimed books on pop music for St. Martins and an acclaimed jazz composer and keyboard player. He writes extensively on music for the National Post in Toronto, and is a voting member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.