The Apex of Aja

aja, album, steely dan, late 1970s, baby name,

The minimalistic name Aja saw massive jump in usage* in 1978. It was the fastest-rising name of 1978, in fact.

  • 1980: 311 baby girls named Aja [rank: 597th]
  • 1979: 362 baby girls named Aja [rank: 526th]
  • 1978: 491 baby girls named Aja [rank: 412th] – peak usage
  • 1977: 14 baby girls named Aja
  • 1976: unlisted

Why?

Because of the soft rock duo Steely Dan. In 1977, the band released both a song called “Aja” and an album called Aja. (The pronunciation is identical to that of “Asia.”)

The title track was an 8-minute jazz-rock song. Band member Donald Fagen said that the song’s title was inspired by a woman he knew of named Aja:

I did have a friend in high school whose brother was in the Army and came back with a Korean wife named Aja. I don’t know how she spelled it — but that was the source for that name.

Aja ended up becoming Steely Dan’s best-selling album. It was nominated for several Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year (though it only won for best sound engineering).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Aja? How would you pronounce it?

Source: Q&A: Donald Fagen – Rolling Stone, Aja (album) – Wikipedia

*Aja also saw usage as a boy name during this time, but I didn’t include the numbers in the post.

2 thoughts on “The Apex of Aja

  1. When I first say the name I pronounced it AHH-yah But I do like the name. I can see the girls being frustrated at having spend wrong all the time or having to spell it after saying it (I have to do that with mine) perhaps as adults it would be better accepted. I love unique names and spelling of said names.

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