Sunday, September 03, 2017

Walter Becker has died
Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker died today. He was 67 years old.

Becker was not part of the band when they played the Classic West and Classic East concerts in July this year, and in an August interview with Billboard magazine Donald Fagen was quoted saying that "Walter's recovering from a procedure and hopefully he'll be fine very soon."

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen met at Bard College, New York 1967 and started writings music together. They had great success during the 1970's after forming the band Steely Dan.
Steely Dan split in 1981 but reformed in 1993 touring and eventually releasing one live and two studio albums. The latest being Everyting Must Go from 2003.

During the Steely Dan break up Walter Becker produced numerous artists, including Donald Fagen's 1993 album Kamakiriad. In return Donald co-produced Walter's solo debut 11 Tracks Of Whack from 1994.

Walter released a second solo album in 2008 titled Circus Money. It was produced by Larry Klein who in March this year wrote this on his Facebook page:

"I co-wrote and produced an album with my friend Walter Becker in 2008. I don't think that I've ever had more fun writing and making a record."

Donald Fagen statement September 3, 2017:

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 & Walter Becker. Photo: Danny Clinch/

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