Published: Wed, September 06, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Walter Becker, guitarist and co-writer for Steely Dan, dead at 67

Walter Becker, guitarist and co-writer for Steely Dan, dead at 67

His death was announced in a brief notice on his official website, with no further details released.

In the great jazz-pop enterprise known as Steely Dan, Walter Becker was the silent partner.

"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", said Fagen, who promised to keep performing Steely Dan's music.

Becker missed Steely Dan's Classic East and West concerts in July as he recovered from an unspecified ailment, Rolling Stone reports. Becker and Fagen formed a band in college that included Chevy Chase on drums. When I close my eyes and reach for metaphors, I see only Becker, his hair long and shiny, wearing sunglasses and the spectacularly wide-collared shirt from the band's appearance on the TV show "The Midnight Special", wagging a finger at me.

"RIP Walter Becker", The KISS guitarist wrote.

Becker and Fagen formed Steely Dan after meeting in 1967 as students at Bard College, a private liberal arts college in NY.

The group found their roots by writing "nutty little tunes", on an old piano that sat in a room of Ward Manor, which was a mansion that sat on the Hudson River. Becker would remain purposely out of the spotlight on guitar or bass knowing his contribution to the music at hand was already complete.

The band released its debut album in 1972, Can't Buy A Thrill.

Thomas fires off a 63, shares lead with Leishman in Boston
SHORT SHOTS: Jon Rahm , the 36-hole leader, didn't have a great weekend, but he hangs in there for a tie for fourth at 12 under. At this point previous year , Thomas was ranked 34th in the world and on the verge of getting passed over for the U.S.

The musician explained that the guitarist had a hard childhood, but "had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people's hidding psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art".

Wrote Judd Apatow: "have played no band more often or enjoyed any music more than Steely Dan".

Grammy scripter and erstwhile Rolling Stone writer David Wild said Becker "opened up my mind musically and made being a wiseass a courageous act of Pretzel Logic". If you're a Steely Dan fan you have to check out the Aja documentary. insane.

The jazz rock band split up in 1981 but reformed in 1993. Their third album - "Pretzel Logic" - produced some hit singles, thanks perhaps to the work of background singer (and later Doobie Brothers front man) Michael McDonald. "Given the nature of these times, this may be precisely the quality that makes Walter Becker and Donald Fagen the flawless musical antiheroes for the Seventies".

Mourning Becker's death was a curious thing to watch, because Steely Dan was always the antithesis of 1960s-utopian love-ins, snide and cynical and world tired, void of romance.

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. In addition to the Dan, Becker also released two solo album 11 Tracks of Whack in 1994 and 2008's Circus Money.

It is hard, browsing through the accumulated interviews with Becker, to find much he says that couldn't be usefully described as droll.

Like this: