Steely Dan ‎– Aja

ABC Records ‎– AB 1006
Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold; Santa Maria Pressing

Tracklist Hide Credits

A1 Black Cow
Backing Vocals – Clydie King, Rebecca Louis, Sherlie Matthews, Venetta FieldsBass – Chuck RaineyClavinet – Joe SampleDrums – Paul HumphreyElectric Piano – Victor FeldmanGuitar – Larry CarltonLead Vocals, Synthesizer – Donald FagenTenor Saxophone – Tom Scott
A2 Aja
Backing Vocals – Timothy B. SchmitBass – Chuck RaineyDrums – Steve GaddElectric Piano – Joe SampleGuitar – Denny Dias, Larry Carlton, Walter BeckerLead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Synthesizer – Donald FagenPercussion – Victor FeldmanPiano – Michael OmartianTenor Saxophone – Wayne Shorter
A3 Deacon Blues
Backing Vocals – Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Venetta FieldsBass – Walter BeckerDrums – Bernard PurdieElectric Piano – Victor FeldmanGuitar – Larry Carlton, Lee RitenourLead Vocals, Synthesizer – Donald FagenTenor Saxophone – Pete Christlieb
B1 Peg
Backing Vocals – Michael McDonald, Paul GriffinBass – Chuck RaineyClavinet – Don GrolnickDrums – Rick MarottaElectric Piano – Paul GriffinGuitar – Steve KhanGuitar [Solo] – Jay GraydonLead Vocals – Donald FagenLyricon – Tom ScottPercussion – Gary Coleman, Victor Feldman
B2 Home At Last
Backing Vocals – Timothy B. SchmitBass – Chuck RaineyDrums – Bernard PurdieGuitar – Larry CarltonGuitar [Solo] – Walter BeckerLead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Synthesizer – Donald FagenPiano, Vibraphone – Victor Feldman
B3 I Got The News
Backing Vocals – Clydie King, Michael McDonald, Rebecca Louis, Sherlie Matthews, Venetta FieldsBass – Chuck RaineyDrums – Ed Greene (2)Guitar – Dean ParksGuitar [Solo] – Larry Carlton, Walter BeckerLead Vocals, Synthesizer – Donald FagenPiano, Vibraphone, Percussion – Victor Feldman
B4 Josie
Backing Vocals – Timothy B. SchmitBass – Chuck RaineyDrums, Percussion – Jim KeltnerElectric Piano – Victor FeldmanGuitar – Dean Parks, Larry CarltonGuitar [Solo] – Walter BeckerLead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Synthesizer – Donald Fagen

Companies, etc.



1st pressings have the AB-1006 matrix and came in a glossy gatefold sleeve with a glossy card lyric inner sleeve.

The AB was an ABC label price-code, and approximately two weeks after the release of the album the price was raised $1.00 and subsequent pressings were AA-1006.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Side A - Label): AB-1006-A
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B - Label): AB-1006-B
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side A): I S AB 1006(RE-3)-A 1C A1 5
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side B): I S AB 1006(RE-3)-B 1A
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A: Variant 2): 2 S AB 1006(RE-3)-A 1A A4
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B: Variant 2): I S AB 1006(RE-3)-B-1A C8
  • Rights Society: BMI

Other Versions (5 of 200) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
CAB 5225 Steely Dan Aja(Cass, Album) ABC Records CAB 5225 UK Unknown Sell This Version
5020-1006 Steely Dan Aja(Cass, Album, Club) ABC Records 5020-1006 US 1977 Sell This Version
UICY-75768 Steely Dan Aja(CD, Album, Ltd, RE, Pap) Geffen Records UICY-75768 Japan 2013 Sell This Version
AA 1006 Steely Dan Aja(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records AA 1006 Scandinavia 1980 Sell This Version
MCMP 31003 Steely Dan Aja(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records MCMP 31003 Italy Unknown Sell This Version


Reviews Show All 24 Reviews

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December 24, 2018
I usually go MFSL if available but the Cisco copy seems to have high praise - any idea which vinyl version is indeed the best sounding?


December 11, 2018
The cover was designed by Phil Hartman, yes graphic artist turned comedy actor Phil Hartman.


August 8, 2018
This is the Dan laying down some super-slick shit!
People: shit don’t get slicker than this!


June 2, 2018
I have just noticed that my re-mastered cd of Steely Dan's Aja has a total misprint on the cd itself that says Stelly Dan! Yes, please reread, STELLY DAN and not STEELY DAN! Is this rare as I cannot find anything about it on Google, eBay or anywhere. Please, if anyone knows anything about this can you let me know, thanks in advance.


November 11, 2017

I was waiting in line, though perhaps that’s incorrect ... I was the only person standing at the door waiting for Sam Goody’s to open the day Aja was scheduled to hit the racks. I stood there thinking about all the time that had passed since their last release, I thought about all the games of Backgammon I’d played as we flipped one record after another, endlessly rolling just one more joint to keep our heads in that obscure, tilted, Becker & Fagen zone, while swapping Dan stories and half-truths from bits and pieces we’d gathered and strung together from late night radio, and an assortment of music rags that seemed to cover my living room.

I stood there in the checkout line, though perhaps that’s not quite true either ... as I was the only customer in the store, and was instantly relieved of my cash. Truth is, it was as if time had slowed to a crawl since the manager opened the box and handed me this slick minimalist album jacket, stark black and white and red, reminding me of that old joke, ”What’s black and white and red [read] all over?” I was taking it all in as I walked from the back of the store to the front, scanning the liner notes, searching the cover for something to clue me in, searching for anything I might recognize and hold dear. And by the time I laid the album on the seat of my MGB, I had the odd sensation that something was amiss ... a million facts were running through my head. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were no longer venturing out of their studio. This was the third album since they’d abandoned the concept of a fixed band, favoring an endless network of session musicians. And while that certainly isn’t a million thoughts, they were enough to give some weight to my current perplexity.

The discovery: Aja was not rock n’ roll, it was smooth, stylish, tight, un-calculated-ly clean, and a straight line to what would soon be called adult contemporary music. I could see my parents liking this record, liking this album art ... after all, this happened to me once before, when my parents actually purchased Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and I was coming to realize that no matter how many joints I rolled, Aja as never going to sit well with me. Thankfully I wasn’t alone, Frank Zappa called it, “ ... downer surrealism.” The tracks were filled with hyper-intelligent phrases and imagery that were beyond stoned-out, and the more I tried to read and understand, the less sense it made. Aja was an opus to L.A., it lacked energy, it lacked purpose, it lacked a response, it was total isolation, in that it purposely disconnects from its audience. However, if taken in context of the times, where even my days and nights were filled with an endless array of Quaaludes, Tunials, Secinols, and other undefined barbiturates, Aja was a true representation of those days; and 30 years out, though still not liking the album, I must give these two masterminds their due. They captured the late 70’s to perfection, they captured the fake slickness, the shallow beauty, and the endless parade of self-aggrandizing to the point where even blue-jeans were sold by the brand on our butts, and not the quality of the material. Steely Dan captured the mood perfectly, not just in song and verser, but in the perfection of those session musicians [Wayne Shorter and Victor Feldman], musicians who replaced real rockers [Skunk Baxter, Jim Hodder, Rick Derringer and Denny Dias], and truth be told, Fagen & Becker had no other direction to go.

As for me, I didn’t want a comment on L.A. and its melodramatic eccentricities, I wanted music that would fill my soul. So as “art,” I’ll give Aja a 10 out of 10, as a rock n’ roll record following in the footsteps of undisputed masterpieces, I’d take it back to the store for a refund ... but then Sam Goody’s closed many years ago.

*** I should note that the cynical nature of Steely Dan is ever-present in the lyrics, and to those who think this is one of the most beautiful albums they have ever heard, please consider: "Josie," hints ominously about a friendly welcome-home gang-bang. "Black Cow" is about love replaced by repulsion for a woman who starts getting too strung out on downers and sleeping around with other men. "Deacon Blues" is a saga to the L.A. musician's lifestyle, in which one must "crawl like a viper through these suburban streets" yet "make it my home sweet home."

*** The Fun Facts: Donald Fagen is quoted as saying that the album was named for a Korean woman who married the brother of one of his high school friends. The cover photo by Hideki Fujii features Japanese model and actress Sayoko Yamaguchi, and was designed by Phil Hartman.

Best Editions:

The hands down best quality records of Aja, in my opinion run in this order …

Vinyl is the way to go, there is so much buried in the grooves that you will be amazed:

-Known as the Cisco version pressed by Cisco Music CLP-1006 on black vinyl, a limited numbered edition remastered for the 39th Anniversary as and Analog Hight Quality 180 gram album is touted as being the very best, and can be yours for around $175US pre owned.
-Geffen Records of Japan did a great re-issue on black vinyl weighing in at 200 grams in 2007, and will set you back about $100US.
-In 1977 ABC Records in Canada release a super sounding edition on yellow vinyl, that totally outshines the red vinyl edition they released the same year, both are limited editions, so plan on shelling out about $60 for either of these.
-And finally, there is the original ABC issue that for my money holds up wonderfully, will only set you back about $25 for a mint copy.

*** Do not expect any used copy of Aja to have a mint jacket, and if you can get the gatefold, that’s the way to go. The jacket was printed on glossy black stock and did not hold up well to constant touching and shelving.

WARNING: Please avoid the current 180 reissue from the UK known as Back To Black that came out in 2008, and is still available as a new copy. There is surface noise inherent to the production, especially in all of the between song grooves, meaning that while you may not notice it while the songs are playing, you are hearing faults nonetheless.

CD’s: My suggestion is to find one of the SACD’s, they are far better than even the MOFI (Mobile High Fidelity), with MOFI not sounding as warm.

Review by Jenell Kesler


July 25, 2017
just got Canadian pressing 9022-1006 (1977) really nice shape cover like new (gatefold) vinyl is very good no noise or skips.
Got it for $2 at value village. good find !


May 31, 2017
Does anyone have an AB-1006 copy on vinyl that actually has KENDUN in the deadwax?


December 15, 2016
My copy fits the above description but the number is AA-1006. Could the above AB-1006 be a misprint? Or what?


February 8, 2016
Just picked up a copy AA 1006 US. $3.00 - This copy sounds very good to my ears. I should say I'm not by any means an audiophile listener (YET). As I have a great system but need to upgrade my player and cartridge/needle. Planning on upgraded from stock LP120 to the highly recommended AT 440MLa.


May 9, 2015
One of the handful of albums I can listen to over and over again. 38 years and it's still a treasure. A REAL Desert Island Disc.