It will come back to you, as an anecdote, about 45 years later. Proud curmudgeon and Eagles front man Don Henley has been outed as one of the dozens of musicians fired from Steely Dan’s legendary 1977 album Aja, with the band’s longtime producer revealing in an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock that Henley was originally recruited to sing background vocals on “Peg.” The producer, Gary Katz, told the outlet that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker “liked Henley’s singing” and were keen on hearing him try the soaring “Peg” vocals; he was also joined by singer Nicolette Larson to harmonize about favorite foreign movies and falling shutters.
“We played the track on the speakers, and Fagen used the piano to teach each one of them their parts. He came in and they tried it — and it might as well have been me and you,” Katz recalled. “They tried a second time and got the same disappointing result. There wasn’t patience as much as instant reaction of the realities of the moment. We didn’t jerk people off by letting them think it was going to work and have them sit for two hours. When we knew it wasn’t going to be okay, Fagen would tell me to end it. So they sang it again, and it was no good.” As part of the band’s inner circle during the Aja sessions, Katz had to tell Henley and Larson that their services were no longer needed. Fagen and Becker excused themselves to “go get a sandwich” out of the studio, which is when the duo told Katz to “fire them.” Michael McDonald, of course, ended up stepping in and annihilating the vocals, while Fagen and Becker turned their attention to psychologically destroying the welfare of studio musicians to nail the guitar solo. Yes, it was worth it.