Steely Dan Co-Founder Walter Becker Dies At Age 67

walter becker

Walter Becker, co-founder of the band Steely Dan has passed away at the age of 67.

Becker’s death was announced on his official website, however, there are no details regarding the cause of death.

Before starting the Grammy winning band Steely Dan, Becker met Donald Fagen while studying at Bard College. In 1972 they founded the band in which Fagen sang lead vocals and played keyboard and Becker played guitars and sang back-up vocals. They were known for several rock hits in the ‘70s and ‘80s including “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ in the Years.”

After a successful decade in the music industry, the band ceased until they reunited in 1993. They went on to win a Grammy for Album of the Year for "Two Against Nature."

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

Fagen wrote a tribute to Becker, saying:

Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We started writing nutty little tunes on an upright piano in a small sitting room in the lobby of Ward Manor, a mouldering old mansion on the Hudson River that the college used as a dorm.

We liked a lot of the same things: jazz (from the twenties through the mid-sixties), W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, science fiction, Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Berger, and Robert Altman films come to mind. Also soul music and Chicago blues.

Walter had a very rough childhood – I’ll spare you the details. Luckily, he was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny. Like a lot of kids from fractured families, he had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people’s hidden psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art. He used to write letters (never meant to be sent) in my wife Libby’s singular voice that made the three of us collapse with laughter.

His habits got the best of him by the end of the seventies, and we lost touch for a while. In the eighties, when I was putting together the NY Rock and Soul Review with Libby, we hooked up again, revived the Steely Dan concept and developed another terrific band. I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.

Donald Fagen

September 3 2017

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