Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, dies at age 67

06 September, 2017, 12:05 | Author: Andrea Terry
  • Steely Dan co-founder and guitarist Walter Becker dead at 67

Walter Becker, the co-founder of ground-breaking USA jazz-rock band Steely Dan, has died age 67.

The jazz rock band's co-founder and guitarist died yesterday (September 3rd 2017) having been suffering from some unspecified health problems earlier this year.

Fagen has said he will keep the music the duo created alive for as long as he can. No details have been given as of his cause of death yet, but we assume it was due to natural causes.

Becker, who was was born February 20, 1950 in Queens, N.Y., met Fagen as a student at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., while playing a gig at local club the Red Balloon.

First as a bassist then guitarist, Walter Becker said that he had grown up listening to great jazz musicians, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Sonny Rollins. "He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically amusing", he said.

"I have played no band more often or enjoyed any music more than Steely Dan".

In 1981, Steely Dan quietly disbanded. "That's sort of what we wanted to do, conquer from the margins", Becker told Time Out New York in 2011.

I freely admit that I went many years where I simply couldn't listen to the band's records anymore.


Donald Fagen said in a statement Sunday that his Steely Dan bandmate was not only "an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter" but also "smart as a whip, " "hysterically amusing, " and "cynical about human nature, including his own".

Grammy scripter and erstwhile Rolling Stone writer David Wild said Becker "opened up my mind musically and made being a wiseass a fearless act of Pretzel Logic".

Walter Becker has left an incredible body of music behind and will be sorely missed.

"Peg" and "Deacon Blues" popped up on WKRP in Cincinnati, "Rikki" rode onto Knight Rider, and Steely Dan were well-represented in movies from Mask and Say Anything to Air America, Me, Myself & Irene and Almost Famous.

Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2001.

The band continued producing albums throughout the 1970s, boasting songs penned by Fagen and Mr. Becker and music provided by some of the best session musicians in the business.

Ryan Adams tweeted: "Walter Becker, you changed my life with music".

The personality clashes made things worse and was followed by a lawsuit, which was triggered by the drug overdose death of Becker's girlfriend Karen Stanley and a serious injury Becker sustained when he was struck by a NY cab. Though Haynes and Becker never performed together, Hayne writes that the two musicians had met and talked on a number of occasions. Also, let's not forget the fact that Becker's own solo musical output - 11 Tracks of Whack and Circus Money - prove just as pleasing to listeners as Fagen's own The Nightfly and Kamakiriad.

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