Walter Becker, guitarist who co-founded Steely Dan, dead at age 67

Steely Dan's Walter Becker Passes Away at 67

When Steely Dan first appeared on "American Bandstand", in 1973, Dick Clark adopted a solemn, almost professorial keen before describing the band as "thinking person's music". "Sometimes we really work very closely, collaboratively on every little silly millimeter on the writing of the song and certainly of the records, and sometimes less so".

Their songs were catchy and insinuating enough to infiltrate pop radio in the 1970s. "Find our place in the middle based on the fact that we were creatures of the margin and of alienation".

Cameron Crowe, who penned a memorable Rolling Stone article about Steely Dan's sixth album, Aja, back in 1977, reposted the retro article about Steely Dan's second coming on his website as a tribute to the late star.

'I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band'. Time and old age have mellowed even the most pretentious heads of Steely Dan's studio heyday, and I'm sure the same will happen to Stephen Malkmus and his coterie, if it hasn't happened already.

During the band's initial run from 1972 to 1981, Steely Dan released six Top 20 albums and scored three Top 10 singles.

Shortly after the release of Gaucho in 1980, Becker and Fagen went their separate ways for a while, but reunited 13 years later in 1993 and have remained collaborators ever since, touring nearly constantly and notably performing at Coachella together a few years back.

In 1993, Steely Dan embarked on their first tour in 19 years, while Becker produced Fagen's solo album, Kamakiriad, that year, and Fagen produced Becker's solo debut the following year, 11 Tracks of Whack.

In fact, nearly everything about Steely Dan was a paradox.

"He was cynical about human nature, including himself, and incredibly amusing", said Sunday Donald Fagen, in a tribute to Walter Becker. "Like many children of families fractured, he had the gift to read the psychology behind the people, and to transform what he saw into art sharp and sparkling", he added.

Becker was born February 20, 1950, in Queens, N.Y., and was raised in the borough community, Variety reports.

Born in New York, Walter Becker met Donald Fagen in 1967 during their studies at Bard College, less than 200 kilometres north of the city. They organised a working group with NY guitarist Denny Dias, guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and drummer Jimmy Hodder.

The duo were still touring as Steely Dan when Becker fell ill earlier this summer. Among those who also shared condolences for Becker was guitarist Warren Haynes who posted a heartfelt message regarding the influential co-founder of Steely Dan. Becker, who never sang in Steely Dan, revealed that he possessed a warm, wry voice that suited his barbed stories of liars, junkies and his Hawaiian home. Its lyrics took on ambitious themes: a stock-market crash in Black Friday, Puerto Rican immigration in The Royal Scam, the jazz life in Deacon Blues.

"Do It Again" in particular seemed a favorite of music supervisors and soundtrack compilers, gracing films and TV episodes as diverse as 2002 doc The Kid Stays in the Picture, the same year's Laurel Canyon, and TV's The Dead Zone.

Becker was lead guitarist of the sophisticated, jazz-flavored Steely Dan, which he formed with Donald Fagen, the keyboardist and lead vocalist.

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